What a show! It is the first time the United States have reached the gold-medal match since going away from the round-robin format.
Milan, Italy, October 11, 2014 – World No. 2 United States scored an amazing 3-0 (25-18, 29-27, 25-20) semifinal win over World No. 1 Brazil to earn a spot in Sunday's final of the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships Italy 2014. USA outplayed Brazil in attacking and serving, to make up for Brazil's superior blocking. However, the reigning Olympic champions contributed to the final score with as many as 19 unforced errors (to USA's 12). It was Brazil's first defeat in 12 matches at these World Championships. USA are 10-2.
USA have never won the World Championship gold medal, finishing second in 1967 and 2002. This is the first time they have reached the gold-medal match since going away from the round-robin format.
USA have never won a major tournament title that includes the World Championships, World Cup and Olympic Games.
It was USA's revenge for the 1-3 loss in the final of the London Olympic Games.
- USA are now 10-2 overall and could become just the second team to win the title with two losses (Italy in 2002) if they win the title.
- USA have reached the World Championship semifinals for the second time in row. They finished fourth in 2010 in Japan.
- USA and Brazil have met nine times in World Championship competition with USA having won five times.
- USA ended their six-match losing streak to Brazil in FIVB and Olympic competition. However, USA won all four matches against Brazil in the USA Volleyball Cup this past July. Overall, USA and Brazil have faced each other eight times in 2014 with USA winning five of the matches.
- This year's World Championship will not have an undefeated team win the title, as Brazil was the last remaining undefeated team having won 11 in a row.
Best scorer of Saturday’s semifinal was USA’s Jordan Larson-Burbach contributing 15 points for her team. Fe Garay scored 14 times for Brazil.
In their fifth semifinal appearance since 1978, World No. 1 Brazil and World No. 2 United States started passionate. USA went 2-0 down before coming back to lead 4-2 thanks to a Kimberly Hill ace. At the first TTO of the match, USA had a two-point advantage against the world's best team. Brazil coach Zé Roberto called his players off court at 7-10 but saw USA heading for a 16-10 lead at the second technical break. The US coaching staff had set up an excellent block-defense organization with the Brazilian spikers finding few holes on their opponent’s side. Hill brought up set point at 24-18 and a Brazilian mistake offered USA the first set at 25-18. It was how it all started when the two teams met in the final of the London 2012 Olympic Games. US outside hitters Kimberly Hill and Jordan Larson Burch scored ten points in total for the United States in the first set.
Momentum quickly changed in the beginning of the second set. Brazil’s Fabiana hammered the Mikasa down to make it 5-1 for the South Americans. US coach Karch Kiraly used a video challenge at 11-4 to give his squad a small break. It apparently helped as USA rapidly bounced back, scoring five consecutive points to reduce the gap to two points at 11-9. It remained a close affair with both teams delighting the 12,500 with spectacular rallies. Fe Garay scored twice to move Brazil forward but Hill immediately responded with a cross-court winner to reduce the deficite to one point at 18-17. The set balanced on a knife’s edge with plenty of fight from both teams. World No. 2 USA survived two set balls and Larson-Burbach brought the second set home 29-27 for a 2-0 overall lead in the first semifinal of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships.
The Brazilians had lost confidence after the heavy setback in the second set while USA continued their run to a four-point lead at the first technical break in the third period. A Larson block widened the gap to seven points at 16-9. USA were putting on a great show against the world's best team and the Kiraly team kept a comfortable lead until 18-12. Sheilla and Jaque did their best to rally back, but it was already too late. The US express was unstoppable now with Christa Dietzen bringing up match point at 24-18. Sheilla saved two but Larson closed it out 25-20 and the match in straight sets.