Brazil's Jaqueline Carvalho, right, spikes the ball past Japan's Yoshie Takeshita during a women's semifinal volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)AP2012
Emanuel of Brazil digs out a ball during the men's gold medal beach volleyball match against Germany at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Brazil advanced to the final of the Olympic women's volleyball tournament with a 3-0 victory here Thursday over Japan, setting up another showdown with the United States.
The South Americans' blocking prowess was the difference in the semifinal match as they repeatedly stymied a Japanese side that was the shortest in the competition, averaging just 1.75 meters (less than 5-feet-9).
The 25-18, 25-15, 25-18 victory was one of the most comfortable during this year's Olympics for the Brazilians, who lost two games in the round-robin phase and then miraculously escaped with a win Tuesday over Russia in the quarterfinals, rallying from a two-set-to-one deficit and staving off six match points to stay alive in the competition.
But Brazil needed no drama on Thursday thanks in large part to its size advantage, winning eight points on blocks in the first set alone.
Japan, meanwhile, could do little against the powerful spiking of Thaisa Menezes, Fernanda Garay and especially Sheilla Castro, who put the team on her back at the start of the third set with a series of blasts at the net.
In Saturday's final, Brazil will take on a powerful American squad that is the three-time defending World Grand Prix champion and convincingly won the teams' Pool B contest last week three sets to one.
Menezes and Castro were both members of the 2008 Brazilian squad that handily defeated the United States in the women's volleyball final at the Beijing Games.
Japan will square off for the bronze Saturday against South Korea, which lost 3-0 Thursday to the United States.
Brazilian men bested in beach volleyball final
Brazil's Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti were defeated by German duo Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann here Thursday in the men's beach volleyball final of the 2012 London Olympics.
The Germans prevailed by two sets to one (23-21, 16-21, 16-14) in an exciting contest at Horse Guards Parade.
Emanuel can now add a silver medal to the gold he and then-teammate Ricardo Santos won at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
This is the first time any country other than the United States or Brazil has won the gold in men's beach volleyball since the sport became an Olympic event in 1996.
The Latvian pair of Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins upset the veteran Dutch duo of Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil in the bronze-medal match.
Brazil's Larissa França and Juliana Silva beat China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi on Wednesday to win the bronze in women's beach volleyball.
Larissa and Juliana, the reigning world champions in the sport, lost their chance for Olympic gold in a semifinal defeat to Jennifer Kessy and April Ross of the United States.
The U.S. pair went on to lose in the final to countrywomen Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, who took home their third consecutive Olympic gold medal.