Battle of giants in Rio 2016 semifinal remake of London 2012 final


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 18, 2016 - The most decorated team in Olympic history, Russia, and hosts Brazil will lock horns in the second semifinal of the men’s volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracanazinho on Friday, in a remake of the London 2012 final four years ago.

These two volleyball giants have met 63 times in major international competitions. The Russians and their predecessors USSR and CIS won 33 of these encounters, while the Brazilians were successful 30 times.

The two sides have met nine times at eight different Olympic Games with Russia claiming five victories. At the very first edition where volleyball was present, Tokyo 1964, the Soviet Union achieved a 3-0 (15-7, 15-6, 15-9) win. At London 2012, Russia and Brazil met twice. In the preliminary round the South Americans mastered a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-21) shutout, but in the gold medal final on August 12, 2012, it was the Russians that triumphed victorious after 3-2 (19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9).

The most recent encounters between the two squads occurred at the FIVB Volleyball World Championship in Poland, when Brazil managed two victories over the European powerhouse - 3-1 (25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 25-19) on September 14, 2014 in Katowice, and 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-21) three days later in Lodz.

Russia and their predecessor, the Soviet Union, have won the Olympic gold four times, adding three silver and three bronze medals to their Olympic record. There have been only two occasions when they were not present among the best four teams – at Los Angeles 1984, when USSR did not participate at all, and at Barcelona 1992, when CIS finished seventh. At Rio 2016, Russia ended up third in Pool B with four wins and one loss and then claimed a straight-set quarterfinal victory over Canada.

Their most prolific player Maxim Mikhaylov, who has made 81 points, ranks sixth in the current Best Scorers chart of the tournament and tops the Best Spikers ranking with a 40.16% efficiency rate in attack.

Two Russian players lead the Best Blockers ranking at Rio 2016. Artem Volvich is number one with an average of 1.00 kill blocks per set, followed in the second place by Maxim Mikhaylov with 0.59.

Brazil have played in the gold medal matches of the last three editions of the Olympic Games, winning in 2004, but losing in 2008 and in 2012. On their overall record from playing at all 12 editions of the Olympic volleyball tournament, they have two gold and three silver medals. At their home Olympics, the Brazilians caught the last train to the quarterfinals by finishing fourth in their Pool A. They made the semis after a 3-1 victory over neighbouring Argentina.

Their Wallace de Souza is the top scorer of the tournament so far with 109 points.


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