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Volleyball: Brazil retain women's volleyball gold
August 11, 2012 / 7:55 PM / 5 years ago

Volleyball: Brazil retain women's volleyball gold

LONDON (Reuters) - Brazil survived a shaky start to upset the United States and retain the Olympic women’s volleyball title they won four years ago in Beijing.

Brazil's Fabiana Oliveira and Thaisa Menezes (R) celebrate winning their women's gold medal volleyball match against the U.S. at Earls Court during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

The U.S., ranked number one in the world, handed their opponents a volleyball schooling in the first set, but Brazil, who saved six match points in their quarter-final against Russia, kept their composure to turn the match on its head.

Led by Jaqueline Carvalho, who top-scored in the match with 18 points, Brazil claimed their second women’s volleyball title with a 11-25 25-17 25-20 25-17 victory.

“There are no words for this emotion,” said Brazil’s libero Fabiana Oliveira, who broke down in floods of tears after the match. “We love this, we live this both on and off the court.”

Brazil's players celebrate a point against the U.S. during their women's gold medal volleyball match at Earls Court during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

The gold medal was all the sweeter for Brazil, after they were heavily criticized in the group stages following losses to the United States and South Korea that had pushed them close to elimination.

“The critics that we had at the beginning were important for us to grow,” Oliveira added. “Being second was never an option. We’re gonna enjoy this a lot.”

Brazil fans were rocking in the aisles of the Earls Court arena as their team completed a rousing victory that they hope will be the first part of a golden volleyball double with their men’s team playing Russia in the final on Sunday.

“They started serving much more aggressively, in all honesty they were better than us. They were pressing us and we didn’t really respond as well as we should have done,” U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said.

Japan beat South Korea 3-0 earlier on Saturday to win bronze.

Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Alison Williams

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