Source Pravda.Ru

Brazil, Russia advance to finals of women's volleyball worlds

Tournament favorite Brazil defeated Serbia and Montenegro on Wednesday to advance to the final of the women's world volleyball championships.

Sheila Castro scored 20 points to lead the Brazilians to a 25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 25-20 win over Serbia-Montenegro and will meet Russia in the finals on Thursday.

Russia defeated defending champion Italy 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 in Wednesday's other semifinal match.

"I won the Olympic Games with the men's team in 1992 and I think we're following the history of the men's team with the women's team now," said Brazil head coach Jose Guimaraes. "I think we're now in a position to win but Russia is very strong."

Unforced errors cost the Brazilians the third set, but the South Americans rallied from down 9-4 in the fourth set and took the lead for good at 16-15 on a spike by Caroline Gattaz.

Russia took control form the outset and dominated the Italians at the net. Lioubov Shashkova had a match-high 21 points, and Ekaterina Gamova added 14.

"Italy won the championship four years ago, and we were very determined to beat them," said Shashkova, who had 18 spikes out of 25 attempts.

Russia's only loss of the tournament was to Brazil in four sets in its final second-round match, reports AP.

"I know that Brazil is the No. 1 team in the world right now, but we're prepared to compete with them both mentally and physically," Russia head coach Giovanni Caprara said. "Compared to our previous match against Brazil, we have to be better in attacking."

In placement matches Wednesday, the United States defeated Taiwan 25-15, 25-20, 25-21 while China defeated Cuba 26-24, 25-21, 26-28, 25-20.

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