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Volleyball men's top guns set for final battle in Rio

 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 21, 2016 – Italy and Brazil will come face to face on Sunday in the decisive match for the men’s volleyball gold medal at Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho.

Omaha 2015

The clash will be preceded by the contest for the bronze medal between reigning champions Russia and World Cup’s kings United States.

After achieving podium positions in all but one of the last five editions of the Olympic Games Italy are seeking for their first title ever. They came up with silver medals Atlanta and Athens and finished with bronzes in Sydney and London.

The Italians, who also claimed third place in Los Angeles, reached the gold medal match after prevailing against the United States in a semifinal five-set thriller and a 3-0 result versus Iran.

Brazil are in their fourth consecutive gold medal match at the Olympics with silver medals to show in the last two visits following an Olympic title in Athens. The South Americans also dug for the gold in Barcelona and a silver medal in Los Angeles.

The Brazilians arrived into the decisive match after a 3-1 victory over Argentina and a convincing shutout to dethrone Russia in the semifinals.

The match features the two best scorers of the tournament with Brazilian Wallace de Souza atop of chart with 127 points and Italian Ivan Zaytsev next with 110. Italy’s Osmany Juantorena completes the top-five list with 102 points.

The two major powerhouses were pitted together once this year at the finals of the FIVB World League with the Boys from Brazil winning in straight sets.

Reigning champions Russia are top on the list of the winningest teams in Olympic history with four gold medals among their total of 10 –including the former Soviet Union. Their collection of gold medals started in Tokyo and Mexico City, continued in Moscow and more recently in London. They have also won three silver and three bronze medals.

The United States will be seeking their fifth Olympic medal after striking gold in Los Angeles, Seoul and Beijing and settling for the bronze in Barcelona.

Russia lost to Brazil in straight sets in the semifinals after gunning down Canada 3-0 in the quarterfinals. On the other hand, the Americans were defeated by Italy in the final-four round in a five-set thriller after a victory over Poland in consecutive sets in the round of eight.

USA’s Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell are third and fourth in the list of top scorers of the tournament with 107 and 105 points, respectively. The best Russian scorer is Maxim Mikhaylov with 97 points and teammate Artem Volvich leads the chart of best blockers.

In the most recent match between the two teams, the United States won 3-0 at the FIVB World League. The Americans indeed have won the last six encounters against Russia.

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