The United States and Brazil are used to playing each other in men's volleyball. The two teams last met two months ago, with Brazil coming away victorious in the Volleyball Nations League 2021. In their 44th overall meeting, the result was no different for Team USA, which fell in four sets.
In a back-and-forth match that could've been a medal match, the two teams were deadlocked in the first two sets. In the first set, the two teams seemed locked at game point. Matt Anderson was finally able to serve a ball that was too much for Brazil's Mauricio Souza, ending the drama at 32-30 in the Americans' favor.
The second set was more of the same, with the two teams evenly matched. Brazil seemed to have the set in hand, up 22-18, but the Americans wouldn't go away quietly, taking it to 23 all. Brazil ended the set with excellent serving by Isac Santos and Alan Souza, to even it at one set apiece.
The third set started to expose some the Americans' weaknesses. Brazil was too strong on the wings, while the U.S. had issues down the middle. To the Americans' credit, there were multiple times Brazil could've pulled away and the U.S. always found a way back. In the end, though, the service errors proved to be too much. Brazil took their second set 25-21.
In the final set, errors were again too much to overcome for the U.S. But again, the U.S. displayed their perseverance. Down 17-12, the Americans clawed their way back, limiting their service faults. A crucial challenge at 21-19 didn't go their way and Brazil seized the momentum, clinching the win 25-20.
Ultimately, the difference proved to be the 21 service faults the U.S. committed in the match. The defending gold medalists took the match in four sets, 3-1. The U.S. dropped to 2-2 in pool play. Brazil, looking for its fifth consecutive medal at the Olympic Games, moves up to second in the standings. The U.S. falls to third, but is still in position to advance.