Argentina prevailed against Brazil 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13) in the all-South American clash to claim the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 bronze medal on Saturday at the Ariake Arena.
Conte powers Argentina’s five-set win to claim bronze
Argentina end 33-year Olympic medal drought
Published 06:07, 07 Aug 2021
Argentina’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medal win took 33 years to achieve. Their first bronze medal win was at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games in Korea.
Conte led Argentina’s double-digit scoring performances with his 21 markers built from 19 attacks, one block and one ace. Agustin Loser was Argentina’s second best scorer with 14 points, including seven blocks. Bruno Lima and Ezequiel Palacios had 13 points apiece and Sebastian Sole added 12 in the win.
“For my seven blocks in the match, the key was patience. We touched a lot of balls in block and defended a lot and these were important in our victory in this match. But it took years of work, maybe in the last four or five years, to develop our defence. The whole process over the years made us perform this well in the tournament.” Agustin Loser
Wallace De Souza headed the Brazilian team with 17 points, and Lucas Saatkamp, Ricardo Lucarelli and Douglas Souza made 14, 13 and 11 points.
Argentina made a fiery start in the first set, but some defensive setbacks and attack errors allowed Brazil to trim their lead to just one point at 19-18.
Argentina’s frontline managed to convert on their attacks and take advantage of the Brazilian service errors to keep at least a two-point edge down the final stretch. Argentina nailed the final point to close the set at 25-23 off a spike by Conte who had a solid nine-point attacking performance in the set.
Brazil had the lead until midway through the second set, with Douglas, Wallace and Lucarelli leading the attack. Argentina managed to get a deadlock at 18-all, but Brazil’s defence was key in those final plays to set up their hitters Lucarelli and Douglas on the counterattack. Wallace’s block secured the set for Brazil at 25-20.
The Brazilians benefitted from their rivals’ turnovers late in the third set, while Lucarelli found some space off the Argentina block to increase their lead, then Wallace won the joust with Cristian Poglajen to increase their lead to 22-18. Lucas Saatkamp’s attacks and another Wallace block ended the set again in favour of Brazil 25-20.
After dropping the last two sets, Argentina found themselves with the lead in the fourth after having trouble starting any rallies at the start of the frame. Later, Ezequiel Palacios and Agustin Loser intimidated the Brazilian attackers and scored two blocks apiece to keep Argentina’s huge 19-12 lead. Palacios and Loser continued with their fourth-set onslaught, while the Brazilians suffered from their blunders in the attack and service lines, conceding the set to Argentina at 25-17.
Argentina carried their momentum from the fourth set to lead 4-1 in the fifth. They earned consecutive points from Brazilian service and attack errors and Luciano De Cecco’s block on Douglas put them further ahead at 8-4.
Brazil managed to tie the score at 12-all with Lucarelli’s ace, but his second service swing went out of bounds and gave Argentina the upper hand. Conte put Argentina at match point with a backrow hit and Loser completed the 15-13 win with a block on Douglas.
“We just lost our chance for bronze because Argentina were superior to us in this match. We made a lot more mistakes than usual and they obviously performed better. In the fifth set we talked about our inconsistencies in the game, but they had more patience and kept the ball up.” Bruno Rezende