Russia and Brazil did already cross their ways in the Olympic tournament right in the prelims where the triple world champions cruised to a speedy 3-0 win whereby Russia suffered their only defeat so far in London. In what was seen as the “iron group”, Brazil and Russia were eventually ranked second and third respectively but re-started their quest for Olympic glory with a terrific show of strength in the 1/4 finals where they downed Argentina and Poland in straight sets.
They eventually kept that momentum also for the semis where they cruised past Italy and Bulgaria displaying some world-class volleyball, thereby laying down the right pre-conditions for a classy final match. Brazil will be going for their third Olympic title after standing on top of the podium in 1992 and 2004, so trying to emulate USA and the Soviet Union as the sole nations with three Olympic crowns so far since volleyball was added to the program of the Olympiad in 1964.
As for Russia, anchored by their superstar Maxim Mikhaylov, they got the chance to fight for Olympic gold for the first time since the 2000 Olympics where they lost to Yugoslavia in the final match. Russia, the main heir of the Soviet school, will try to seize an Olympic gold that the local volleyball family has been missing since 1980; the status of the head-to-heads on the Olympic arena stands at 4 wins each after the win claimed by Brazil in the prelims, so the outcome of this final act will eventually break this tie.