LONDON: Russia will play for the Olympic gold medal in men's volleyball after defeating Bulgaria 3-1 yesterday.
The Russians, second in the world, will face the winner of the semi-final match between top-ranked Brazil and No 6 Italy. The final is tomorrow.
Russia is vying for their fourth gold medal in the sport, which joined the Olympics in 1964. The Russians have won all 10 of their Olympic matches against Bulgaria.
Maxim Mikhaylov, who leads all scorers in London, had 25 points in the 25-21, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23 victory over ninth-ranked Bulgaria, which will play in the bronze medal match.
"It's our country's dream, everybody's dream, the fans' dream to win the gold medal," Mikhaylov said. "Of course it's good to be in the final but the winner will be the one who plays their best game in the final."
Bulgaria and the Soviet Union played a memorable gold-medal match at the 1980 Moscow Games. The Soviets won 3-1 on home soil, the team's last gold. Bulgaria's silver remains its best Olympic volleyball result.
With President Rosen Plevneliev cheering the team on, Bulgaria went ahead 17-14 in the first set. But Russia scored the next four points, capped by Sergey Tetyukhin's ace, to even it. Russia pulled in front 21-20 when Alexander Sokolov misplayed a spike and won the set on Alexander Volkov's kill."