Volleyball: Brazil's men beat Italy for third gold

Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:37pm EDT
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By Anthony Boadle

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's men's volleyball team defeated Italy on Sunday to win their third gold medal in the sport and cap their country's best Olympic performance with a total of seven golds in the Rio Games.

The Brazilians had lost to the Italians in a pool match but won the final in straight sets 25-22 28-26 26-24, handing Italy its third silver medal in men's volleyball.

Brazil struggled in the pool stage, losing two matches, to the U.S. and Italy, and only making it into the knockout rounds after a tense victory over France in the last game.

But having emerged from the pool, Brazil began to show its class and fueled by raucous home support dropped just one set between the quarter-finals and clinching gold.

The Brazilian victory was largely due to a barrage of winning spikes, serves and blocks by its outstanding outside hitter Wallace de Souza, who scored 20 of Brazil's points.

"The Brazilian team played very well and definitively deserved to win. My team gave it all they had, but Brazil was superior and dominated," said Italian coach Gianlorenzo Blengini.

Brazilian fans that packed Rio's Maracanazinho stadium erupted with joy, chanting "The champ is back." Cheering was heard in neighborhood streets across Rio.

In the audience to witness the win was Brazilian soccer star Neymar, fresh from Saturday's gold-winning final against Germany.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Volleyball - Men's Gold Medal Match Italy v Brazil - Maracanazinho - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/08/2016. Lipe (BRA) of Brazil spikes as Simone Buti (ITA) of Italy and Ivan Zaytsev (ITA) of Italy block.  REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler