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Italy defeat USA to reach Rio 2016 men’s volleyball final against Brazi

Italians overcome USA in classic five-set match; Brazil beat the Russians

Italians overcome USA in classic five-set match; Brazil beat the Russians

Italy defeat USA to reach Rio 2016 men's volleyball final against Brazil

The Italian wall of Filippo Lanza, Emanuele Birarelli, Ivan Zaytsev block the USA out of contention (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Italy have ended the gold-medal aspirations for the USA men’s volleyball team in a second straight Olympic Games with a 30-28, 26-28, 9-25, 25-22, 15-9 victory at the Maracanãzinho.

After the game, David Lee brought his American team-mates into a huddle and embrace, then Matt Anderson and Taylor Sander clapped to the crowd in appreciation as the US players waited at the net to shake hands after a memorable match.

In the fifth set, Osmany Juantorena served an ace for 12-8 and Aaron Russell let a ball drop in for 13-9 as Max Holt covered his face with his uniform shirt.

Rio 2016 volleyball: schedule and results

After an embarrassing third set flop, Italy forced a deciding fifth set by closing out the fourth set on a 6-0 run — getting three straight aces by Ivan Zaytsev, including the second-to-last point that was initially called long but overturned on review for set point.

Ivan Zaytsev (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Italians will play for gold on Sunday against Brazil, who defeated defending Olympic champion Russia 25-21, 25-22, 25-17 in Friday’s other semi-final. Brazil will be playing in its fourth straight final and will be looking for its first gold medal since 2004 in Athens. Italy won the bronze in 2012 in London.

USA will play Russia for third place, just like the top-ranked USA women after their stunning five-set defeat by Serbia on Thursday (18 August).

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