Photo: Brazilian Women's Volleyball Team
Brazil won Saturday its second straight Olympic gold medal in women’s volleyball by downing the United States 3-1 in an unprecedented comeback when all seemed lost.
The Brazilian team strengthens in the face of adversity, just when its rival thinks it has them on the run - it happened against China, against Russia, and Saturday against the United States.
The United States easily overcame Brazil in the first set, but the Olympic champions came back with an impenetrable defense and found the secret to avoiding blocks by U.S. players guarding the net.
Brazil started the game erratically, with Ze Roberto Guimaraes’ girls error-prone and lacking concentration.
The United States, meanwhile, took charge with an impressive blocking capability that totally shut down the South Americans’ attack.
Coach Guimaraes yelled at players to “stay calm” in the first set when the scoreboard stood at 13-5 in favor of the Americans, but the Brazilians more or less gave up and the set ended with them down by a scandalous 14 points.
But a new and better Brazil arose from the ruins of the first set to vanquish their American rivals from then on. The U.S. was totally disconcerted and seemed mentally unprepared for such a powerful comeback.
The Brazilians began finding alternative ways to elude the always effective blocks by the Americans, such as curving spikes and arching shots from the second line.
The United States could only attain a tie on the scoreboard once in the second set, at 12 points each, but the rest of the time they were down by around 5 points.
Brazil continued exercising it authority in the third set with a lead never less that 3 points and with the support of its fans who on Saturday made up the majority at Earl’s Court.
Brazil was unstoppable and the Americans, who won a match that pitted the two teams against each other in the first round, could do nothing in the deciding moments, losing the final set by 8 points.