Olympic Volleyball 2012: Men's Gold and Bronze Medal Results & Analysis
Brazil had a very impressive run to earn the silver medal, but Russia showed it would not quit as it won the final in comeback fashion.
Gold Medal Game
Russia defeats Brazil 3-2
Brazil looked almost unbeatable in the first two-and-a-half sets in the final match. After defeating Argentina and Italy the previous two games in straight sets, Brazil kept the momentum up to get to match point in the third set against Russia.
Unfortunately, Russia would not give up and fought back to win the third set 29-27. Russia continued a great run in the fourth to send it to the fifth and final set.
The Russians went from not being able to set anything up or block the Brazilian attack to controlling almost every rally. They also avoided the unforced errors that hurt them early.
Just like they did against the United States, Russia finished off the comeback after being down two sets early on and showed incredible resolve to win the gold medal.
The body language of the Brazilian team was noticeable as they felt the game slipping away from them in the final few sets. The normally solid squad finished with 23 errors and were not finishing spikes like it usually did. Only 28.03 percent of hits were successful.
Brazil earns it second straight silver after winning gold in 2004. Russia now earns its first gold medal in volleyball as an independent nation. After medaling in the last four Olympics, it is nice to elevate to the top spot.
Key Player: Dmitriy Muserskiy
Muserskiy was all over the place for Russia throughout the match. At times, it seemed like he was the only person keeping the team alive.
He finished with 28 winners on spikes and had great efficiency, successfully finishing 44.9 percent of his attempts. Although he struggled on serves, he had an important ace to keep momentum for his team.
The steady play of the 7'2" giant helped his team take home the gold.
Bronze Medal Game
Italy defeats Bulgaria 3-1
The Italians barely reached the quarterfinals after a disappointing performance in the preliminary round, but the team stepped it up when it mattered and earned a bronze medal.
Italy was 3-2 in the group stage, losing nine sets in the process. In the first match against Bulgaria, the team was swept in straight sets. The Italians turned it around with a dominant win over the United States before falling to Brazil in the semifinals.
Bulgaria had a different path, winning the group before being upset by the red-hot Russian team in the semifinals.
In the bronze-medal match, the teams were very evenly matched. The squads split the first two sets, but Italy was able to take control of the third set late and won 25-22. The Italians kept momentum and closed out the match in the fourth set.
Key Player: Michal Lasko
Cristian Savani was a big part of the victory with seven aces, bu Michal Lasko was all over the place for Italy.
Lasko had 13 spikes and seven blocks, four of which ended up being kills. He served well, hit the ball well in transition and made very few mistakes.
He helped Italy win its fourth medal in the last five Olympics.
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