Counting Sunday’s match against Italy, Brazil has managed to reach the last four gold medal matches in men’s volleyball. But after taking gold in 2004 the Brazilians lost in both 2008 and 2012, and with this final being played on home soil there was even greater motivation to not allow that losing streak to reach three.
Brazil did just that, winning in straight sets, 25-22, 28-26, 26-24, to win their third Olympic gold medal in the sport and continue their mastery of the Italians in Olympic competition. Brazil has now won nine of the ten meetings in the Olympics, with Italy’s lone win coming in pool play in Rio.
With Ricardo Lucarelli playing through a quad injury that hampered his explosiveness, it was Wallace who led Brazil offensively with 17 kills and Lipe added seven of his own to help pick up the slack.
Ivay Zaytsev finished with 15 kills and Osmany Juantorena added 12 for Italy, which took bronze in London four years ago. The U.S. took bronze in Rio, coming back from two sets down to defeat Russia in five sets.