Team captain Fabiana Marcelino Claudino celebrates during Brazil’s victory over rival Russia
The Brazilian women’s volleyball shocked Russia’s women’s team, and in their best game in the London Olympics so far, claimed a spot in the semifinals. Brazil, the current Olympic champion, defeated the Russians 3-2, after saving six match points in the tie-breaker.
With the victory, the Brazilians left behind the memories of failures against the Russia of Gamova and Sokolova in 2004, in the semifinals of the Athens Games, and in the World games of 2006 and 2010, when Brazil lost in the finals.
Brazilian women’s volleyball team celebrates victory
The first set of the match was hotly contested. Brazil is attacked very well and defended themselves knew when the Russians attacked. However, the Russian’s prevailed early by a score of 26-24. The setback did not affect the Brazilian girls whose blocking continued to work well and opened up a lead of five points. In the final moments, there were still moments of instability but nothing to take away the set of the green and yellow team, pulling out a 25-22 victory.
However, in the third set the Russians stormed ahead to open a 14 to 11 lead. With this advantage, the Russians pulled out a 25 to 19 set. In the fourth set, Russia threatened to open a lead early, but the Brazilians recovered and, with the support of the fans, tied the game, 2-2.
Fernanda Garay e Jaqueline defend for the Brazilian team
In the tie-breaker, the tension was thick. Brazil started out in the lead, but left their adversaries continued to fight back on the scoreboard. A bad call on the part of a referee cost the Brazilian team and prevented them from opening a two point advantage at the end of the set. The Russians tied the score, but the Brazilians denied them on six match points, and eventually finished them off, closing the match at 21-19, winning 3-2.
Fernanda Garay (center) and teammates celebrate a point
Brazil defeated the Russians in straight sets in Beijing. The two teams have each won three matches against each other in Olympic competition. The two teams also met in the 2010 world championships final, with Russia winning 3-2. Brazil beat Russia in their last meeting in the 2011 World Grand Prix semifinals. Late last year Brazil surrendered its four-year hold on the No. 1 ranking to the U.S., but the Brazilians were still considered a medal threat in London.
An emotional Fabiana says the Brazilian women deserved the hard fought victory
Brazil has reached the semifinals in the last seven Olympics. The team’s only gold medal came at the Beijing Games when it went undefeated and beat the United States in the final. Brazil advances to Thursday’s semifinal against Japan, which outlasted China 3-2 (28-26, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 18-16) in an earlier quarterfinal. Russia has won four gold medals in women’s volleyball since the sport joined the Olympics sport in 1964, but none since 1988.