Italy silence the Maracanazinho and sink Brazil's hopes


Italy's Simone Giannelli and Matteo Piano block Brazil's Ricardo Lucarelli at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 13, 2016 - Italy doused the fire of the Brazilian fans in the packed Maracazinho, coming back from a set down to beat the hosts 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-15) and make Brazil's outlook rather grim for a berth in the men's volleyball quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Italy, the London 2012 bronze medallists, remain the only undefeated team across both pools and secure a top-place finish in Pool A regardless of the outcome of their last match, on Monday against Canada.

The hosts, on the other hand, who are still hoping to go one better than their silver in London 2012, are now with their backs against the wall, tied with France, Canada and USA on 2-2 records. They face France on Monday night in a must-win situation.

Brazil got off to a promising start in a first set as tight as you like. Neither team at any moment broke away by more than a point, until Simone Giannnelli unleashed an ace down the line to give Italy a two-point advantage at 23-21. All Italy had to was sideout twice to take the lead, but Wallace de Souza replied with a kill from the right. Lipe added a stuff on Osmany Juantorena and Ivan Zaytsev sent his last ball long.

But, much to the huge disappointment of the home crowd that once again turned out in force to support their beloved stars, Brazil were not up to it. Italy turned the game around winning the next two sets in a rather more straightforward way, before Brazil totally deflated in the fourth.

The stats say it all: With four players scoring in double digits (Zaytsev 20, Juantorena 15, Filippo Lanza 14 and Emanuele Birarelli 13), Italy outblocked Brazil 13 stuffs to 8 and served 6 aces to the home side's none. Attacking was 47% (52/111) for Italy to 42% (46/110) for Brazil.

Wallace de Souza was best scorer of Brazil on 17 points, with Ricardo Lucarelli adding 15 and Lucas Saatkamp 12.

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