On Friday the first semifinal match will pit Bulgarian Olympic FIVB Hero Tsvetan Sokolov and Olympic FIVB Hero Russian Hero Maxim Mikhaylov against each other. Sokolov, only 22 years old, will have one of the most amazing experiences of his life after being chosen this year as leader of his team, a responsibility he has worn well as he has been the key player in every match of the tournament. The Bulgarian national team hasn’t reached an Olympic podium since 1980 when they won the silver medal.
On the other side of the net their rival is Russia, an experienced and successful team with six medals in their Olympic history. Olympic FIVB Hero Mikhaylov, one of the world’s best spikers, will play his second semifinal after winning the bronze medal in Beijing 2008. In those Olympic Games, both teams met in the quarterfinals and Russia overcame the Bulgarians, who ended the tournament in 5th place. Will Sokolov take his revenge or will Russia reach the final?
The other semi-final match will be a battle between experienced FIVB Heroes who want to keep on making history. Brazil is among the best four teams for the sixth time while Italy is looking forward to their first gold medal after losing the final in 2004 to the South Americans. Also, both teams met in semifinals In 2008 and Brazil, with Murilo Endres and Giba, who is disputing his fourth Olympic Game, beat the Italians again 3-1. This time, the Europeans are confident after overcoming the USA, one of the favourites of the tournament, in straight sets. Captain Cristian Savani and Simone Parodi are aiming to take Italy to the final. The match promises to be tough, and a real treat for the fans. Will Brazil be one of the finalists or Italy will make their dream come true?
Stay tuned to FIVBheroes.com to find out!