Brazil's volleyball powerhouse is trying for a sweep at the London Games. After the women defeated the United States, the men's team has a chance to complete the sweep if it can win the gold Sunday against Russia.
Brazil will play in its third straight Olympic final. A third Olympic crown, and first since Athens, would also re-establish the Brazilians as the team to beat in volleyball. The U.S., considered one of the most successful men's programs, did not make the final.
A win would also put the Brazilians in a powerful position in the run up to the Rio Games in 2016.
The Russians are hoping for a first victory since 1980, when the former Soviet Union won its third and last gold medal on home soil. It's been a long road back for Russia, which last played—and lost—a final in 2000 to Yugoslavia.
Brazil beat Russia in the group stage to even the overall Olympic record between the teams at 4-4. But with a gold medal on the line, neither team expects that preliminary result to matter.
"The first match is nothing. This is a different story," Brazil captain Giba, featuring in his third and final games, said. "Russia a very good and strong team. These are the two teams that have been in finals, won championships in 4 years since Beijing. They block, they serve, they spike, they do everything."
The Russians, led by the tournament's top scorer and spiker in Maxim Mikhaylov, are the top servers and setters while the Brazilians have received better than the rest.
"It's our country's dream, everybody's dream, the fans' dream to win the gold medal," Mikhaylov said. "Of course it's good to be in the final but the winner will be the one who plays their best game in the final."
Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende warned his players to be patient and to rely on their experience.
"One thing we have over other teams is experience and if we don't know how to use that than what are we doing," Rezende said.
Brazil would become just the second nation to sweep the competition in the men's and women's categories after the former Soviet Union did it in Mexico in 1968 and Moscow in 1980.
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