23 September 2021

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Tokyo 2020: Mikhaylov’s 22-point takes ROC back to Olympic final. Brazil defeated in four sets!

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Russia, competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s volleyball tournament under the name of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), has returned to the final after nine years.
They defeated Brazil in the semifinals with a score of 3-1 (18:25, 25:21, 26:24, 25:23) at Ariake Arena, and so the dream of the second consecutive gold medal of the rivals crumbled in the third set when Russia made one of the biggest-ever single-set comebacks in the history of the event. Russia trailed by 8 points, 12:20, before taking advantage of a total blackout of the defending champions and, of course, of their own good performance!

The last time the Russia National Team reached the final of the Olympics was in London2012, where it beat exactly Brazil in an epic tie-break, but lost their chance to progress to the Rio 2016 final after a 3-0 (25:21, 25:20, 25:17) defeat in the semifinals against the same Brazil.
Actually, this was their third win in a row against Brazil, second in Tokyo.
At the same time, triumphing today, the ROC broke their streak of four straight Olympic Games final appearances, which started in Athens 2004 and saw two gold medals two silvers.

The match began with a very balanced first set as both teams battled to an 8-8 tie. However, ROC could not make their way back into the first set as Brazil was better especially in attack, building a lead to seven points at 23:16. It was a service error by ROC that conceded the set at 25:18. The South Americans managed 15 attacks in this set, 6 by Leal.

Second set was different, with ROC who create a 10-5 advantage.
Alan Souza’s entry in the set had a positive effect for Brazil, but ROC middle-blockers Artem Volvich and Iakovlev responded well in offence and defence to maintain the edge. Mikhaylov, Kliuka and Dmitriy Volkov also contributed in offence and closed the set at 25-21. In this set, Mikhaylov had a seven-point scoring output from six attacks and a block.

Both teams played great defence at the start of the third set, but Brazil got better breaks and scored three straight points in a row to claim a 9-6 lead, then their offence-driven frontline helped them dominate 20-12 and then 23-19.
However, the rivals reversed the course of the set, thanks to Iakovlev’s block and Mikhaylov and Kliuka’s spike. Ilyas Kurkaev’s attack complete the third set turnaround in favour of ROC at 26-24.

The very balanced fourth set went down to the wire, until the score reached a deadlock at 22-all, when an attack by Wallace went out of bounds and gave ROC a one-point advantage.
Mikhaylov in defense gave ROC match point at 24-22, but Douglas retaliated with an attack to trail by just one point. Kliuka’s completed ROC’s upset of the Olympic champions at 25-23.

With 22 points (20 attacks and two blocks), Russia’s Maksim Mikhailov was the most productive player of the match. This victory was also enhanced by the good performances of Egor Kliuka and Ivan Iakovlev who finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively, with the first who also had 70.6% reception (13/17; 1 error).
On the other side of the net, Yoandy Leal scored 18 points, while Lucas Saatkamp set up 4 blocks (13 points in total).

We felt kind of overwhelmed and not confident in the first set, but from my understanding it was because some of them are in their first Olympic Games. Later on we gained more confidence and calmed down,” Mikhaylov said.
“Emotionally, we started to believe that our opponents are not a threat, and we can beat a team like Brazil. We just have to believe in ourselves to do that. We have 12 members in the team that are all good players. So the changes or substitutions were relevant to help the team concentrate and make the next move
.”

In the final, the ROC will face the winner of France vs Argentina match.

| 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s volleyball tournament – semifinals:

• Brazil – ROC 1-3 (25:18, 21:25, 24:26, 23:25)

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• France – Argentina 3-0 (25:22, 25:19, 25:22)

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August 7: FINALS
• Bronze Medal Match: Argentina – Brazil 3-2 (25:23, 20:25, 20:25, 25:17 15:13)
• Gold Medal Match: France – Russian Olympic Committee 3-2 (25:23, 25:17, 21:25, 21:25, 15:12)

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| All results of men’s volleyball tournament:

Pool A: Japan, Poland, Italy, Canada, Iran, and Venezuela.
Pool B: Brazil, USA, Russia, Argentina, France, and Tunisia.

| July 25 – Day 1
Italy – Canada 3-2 (26:28, 18:25, 25:21, 25:18, 15:11)
Brazil – Tunisia 3-0 (25:22 25:20 25:15)
Russia – Argentina 3-1 (21:25 25:23 25:17 25:21)
Japan – Venezuela 3-0 (25:21 25:20 25:15)
Poland – Iran 2-3 (25:18, 22:25, 22:25, 25:22, 21:23)
USA – France 3-0 (25:18, 25:18, 25:22)

| July 27 – Day 2
Iran – Venezuela 3-0 (25:17, 25:20, 25:18)
USA – ROC 1-3 (23:25, 25:27, 25:21, 23:25)
Poland – Italy 3-0 (25:20, 26:24, 25:20)
France – Tunisia 3-0 (25:21, 25:11, 25:21)
Japan – Canada 3-1 (23:25, 25:23, 25:23, 25:20)
Brazil – Argentina 3-2 (19:25, 21:25, 25:16, 25:21, 16:14)

| July 29 – Day 3
Canada – Iran 3-0 (25:16, 25:20, 25:22)
USA – Tunisia 3-1 (25:14 23:25 26:14 25:23)
Argentina – France 3-2 (23:25, 25:17, 25:20, 15:25, 15:13)
Poland – Venezuela 3-1 (25:16, 25:13, 18:25, 25:15)
Japan – Italy 1-3 (20:25, 17:25, 25:23, 21:25)
Brazil – ROC 0-3 (22:25, 20:25, 20:25)

| July 31 – Day 4
Canada – Venezuela 3-0 (25:13, 25:22, 25:12)
Brazil – USA 3-1 (30:32, 25:23, 25:21, 25:20)
Japan – Poland 0-3 (22:25, 21:25, 24:26)
Argentina – Tunisia 3-2 (23:25, 23:25, 25:19, 25:18, 15:8)
Italy – Iran 3-1 (30:28, 25:22, 21:25, 25:21)
ROC – France 1-3 (21:25, 25:20, 17:25, 20:25)

👉🏼 August 2 – Day 5
Poland – Canada 3-0 (25:15, 25:21, 25:16)
Brazil – France 3-2 (25:22, 37:39, 25:17, 21:25, 20:18)
ROC – Tunisia 3-0 (25:20, 25:22, 25:16)
Italy – Venezuela 3-0 (25:22, 25:15, 25:17)
Japan – Iran 3-2 (25:21, 20:25, 29:31, 25:22, 15:13)
USA – Argentina 0-3 (21:25, 23:25, 23:25)
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| QUARTERFINALS:

August 3:
• Canada (4a) – ROC (1b) 0-3 (21:25, 28:30, 22:25)
• Japan (3a) – Brazil (2b) 0-3 (20:25, 22:25, 20:25)
• Italy (2a) – Argentina (3b) 2-3 (25:21, 23:25, 22:25, 25:14, 12:15)
• Poland (1a) – France (4b) 2-3 (25:21, 22:25, 25:21, 21:25, 9:15)
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