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Brazil, Italy spikers in final

Last updated on: August 28, 2004 22:48 IST
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Brazil and Italy will contest the Olympic men's volleyball gold medal match on Sunday after the two teams stormed to semi-final wins in straight sets on Friday.

World champions Brazil triumphed 25-16, 25-17, 25-23 against a U.S. team thatĀ faced booing and jeering from the crowd, but American coach Doug Beal was generous in defeat.

"They are the best team in the world and they play at a different speed to other teams," said Beal.

"The final will be a great match and I'm happy for volleyball that the two best teams will play for the gold medal. I think that's the way it should be."

Brazil are hoping to get back the Olympic gold they last won in 1992.

But Italy, who beat Russia 25-16, 25-17, 25-16 in just over an hour, are on a mission to win the one title they have yet to capture -- that of Olympic champions.

The United States will play Russia -- silver medallists in Sydney four years ago -- for the bronze on Sunday, just before the gold medal match.

In the women's event, China overcame mid-match nerves to shatter Cuba's dream of four Olympic women's volleyball golds in a row by beating them 3-2 on Thursday.

The Chinese won 25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 23-25, 15-10 to set up a gold medal showdown on Saturday with Russia, who beat Brazil earlier in another contest that went to the tie-break set.

The Russians came back from being two sets down against Brazil to to win 18-25, 21-25, 25-22, 28-26, 16-14.

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