Bia, Fe Garay, Carol Gattaz, Gabi, Macris and Tandara (hidden behind Macris) celebrate as Brazil bring down Japan in the first semifinal of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Brazil are the first team to advance to the final of the 2021 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League after taking down Japan 3-1 (25-15, 25-23, 29-31, 25-16) in the first of Thursday's semifinals at Italy's Adriatic resort of Rimini.

Brazil shot off to a two-set lead, breaking away midway each of the first two sets with comfortable leads - though the second did eventually become tight.

The South Americans had reached set point with four to spare, but Japan rallied to close in at 24-23, before Tandara Caixeta hit the ball off the hands of Haruyo Shimamura and away.


Macris makes a flying dig to keep the ball in play as Brazil advance to the final of the 2021 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League.

But Japan were not giving up that easily. Brazil found themselves trailing by seven, at 5-12, in the third set and Natalia Pereira had come on to replace Fe Garay.

Brazil wasted two match points at 24 in the third - the second for a sideout on a misconnect error by Macris Carneiro. The South Americans had two more chances to end the match, at 25-24 and 27-26, before Mayu Ishikawa made the final kill to keep Japan alive.

Japan again shot off to to a 5-0 lead and Fe Garay returned on court to replace Natalia as Brazil once more caught up and shot away. Brazil led by five at the second technical time-out and cruised on to close the match in four without further problems.

This time Brazil had as many as nine match points and Rosamaria Montibeller got it right on the first sideout effort, hitting crosscourt to close the match.

Brazil were coping well with Japan's signature dizzying defending, putting their physical power to good use on the net.

Brazil had so many choices, either for setter Macris to distribute the play or for the blockers to keep Japan's attackers in check. In fact, such was the frustration of the Japan's attackers in their attempts to find solutions to Brazil's blocking, that they conceded 25 attacking errors - their overall efficiency restricted to a mere 37% (62/167).


Brazil double block by Tandara and Bia stops Mayu Ishikawa in the semifinals of the 2021 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League.

Tandara Caixeta contributed the match high of 23 points, though Gabi Guimaraes (at 18 on par with Japan's Sarina Koga and Ishikawa) was the most efficient of Brazil's attackers at 55% (17/31).

Three blocks each from Carol Gattaz and Ana Beatriz 'Bia' Correa contrubited to Brazil's 13 in the match.

Ishikawa was Japan's top scorer on 18 points.

Japan will meet the loser of the other semifinal between USA and Turkey in the bronze medal match on Friday.

For Brazil it is the second appearance in a VNL final after their clash with USA in 2019.