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Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 19:02 UK

Brazil and US in final showdown

Brazil celebrate their victory
Brazil looking for more Olympic glory

The Brazilian men's volleyball team will aim to defend their Olympic title against the US in Sunday's final.

Brazil, strong favourites to win gold again, had to recover from a slow start to beat the Italians 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22) in their semi-final.

In the earlier semi-final, the US narrowly defeated Russia 3-2 (25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 15-13) to stay unbeaten in the competition.

Sunday's final starts at 0500 BST, following the bronze medal match.

Top-ranked Brazil are tipped to triumph again. They won gold in Athens and the World Cup last year, defending its 2003 title. They also repeated as gold-medal winners in the 2002 and 2006 world championships.

BBC's Matt Slater

With Italy starting the game strongly, taking an early 9-2 lead and then taking the first set, Brazil's coach Bernardo Rezende admitted his team began nervously.

"I think they were thinking too hard about what would happen if they lost in the beginning," he said.

Italy had to contend with an injury to Luigi Mastrangelo in the third set, and although they pushed the Brazilians close in the fourth, it was not to be their day.

"It is very hard to keep the adrenaline down in a match like this," Brazil's Giba said.

Italy, which lost 3-1 to Brazil in Athens four years ago, has never won a gold medal in the sport.

Olympics venues map

BBC Sport's Olympic map

Find out about the Beijing volleyball venue

Volleyball medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 also show each event results forBrazil 1 1 0 2
Men 0 1 0
Women 1 0 0
2 also show each event results forUSA 1 1 0 2
Men 1 0 0
Women 0 1 0
3 also show each event results forChina 0 0 1 1
Women 0 0 1
4 also show each event results forRussia 0 0 1 1
Men 0 0 1

see also
BBC Olympics blog
15 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Beijing 2008
14 Feb 08 |  Olympics
US and Brazil in volleyball final
22 Aug 08 |  Volleyball
US reach volleyball semi-finals
19 Aug 08 |  Volleyball
Russia face US in semi-final tie
20 Aug 08 |  Volleyball
European champions in shock loss
15 Aug 08 |  Volleyball

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