Love Brazil, beat Brazil - U.S. women on a mission

Mon Aug 1, 2016 12:31pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - American women's volleyball captain Christa Dietzen is buzzing at the prospect of playing in one of the sport's heartlands but, with the U.S. having lost to Brazil in the last two Olympic finals, there is some steel behind the Rio love-in.

Dietzen played in the number-one ranked team who beat Brazil in the group phase four years ago only to get blown away in the final. The U.S. also lost to the same rivals in the Beijing gold medal decider.

Volleyball is Brazil's most successful Olympic sport and the atmosphere for the tournament is likely to be second-to-none when the action gets underway on Saturday.

"Rio loves volleyball and we are all really excited to compete on this stage," Dietzen told a news conference soon after the team's arrival on Monday.

"I've played here three or four times. The fans were so passionate and loud with their drums, horns and cheering. When I stepped off court in the time out I couldn't hear myself think.

"I thought that was awesome and because they have so much knowledge of the game they respect good volleyball."

Dietzen, however, is not here to enjoy the atmosphere and go home a happy loser.

She says the team have learned the lessons of 2012 when they were "not really pushed" in the group stage and took the first set of the final, only to be blown away by a "Brazilian storm."   Continued...

Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Destinee Hooker and Jordan Larson (L-R) of the U.S. react after losing their women's gold medal volleyball match against Brazil at Earls Court during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/Files