Fans can watch the game for free via a trial fuboTV.
Here’s what you need to know:
What: Tokyo Olympic Games, women’s volleyball, bronze medal match
who: South Korea vs Serbia
When: Saturday August 7, 2021
Or: Ariake Arena
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: USA Network
Direct: fuboTV (free try)
American volleyball star Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson woke up to the vision that his team were about to return to the gold medal game.
Five years after Akinradewo Gunderson failed to witness the end of a crushing five-set loss to Serbia in the Olympic semi-final due to a knee injury, she helped her team move closer to the award ultimate.
Akinradewo Gunderson provided key blocks at the net, his best offensive game of the tournament and emotion to help the United States qualify for the gold medal for the fourth time in their history after avenging a loss in the half. 2016 final against Serbia with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 victory on Friday.
âI just felt it,â Akinradewo Gunderson said. âI just felt confidence in our group. It was just a feeling I had. In fact, I’ve never felt that way before, to be honest. But this morning I woke up and I was like, ‘We’re going to do this. We are going to do it. I’m glad it came to fruition.
The Americans easily knocked out the team that denied them a chance to win their elusive first gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. They qualified for the gold medal match against Brazil, who beat South Korea in straight sets in the other semi-final.
Serbia will face South Korea for bronze after beating the United States in straight sets in Rio in a loss that haunted American players and staff.
âIt wasn’t like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get this or that redemption,â Akinradewo Gunderson said. “It was we just want to win a gold medal and whatever it takes, we’re going to do it.”
The United States played forward for most of the game with a strong serving performance from Akinradewo Gunderson to open the game.
The Americans had nine set points in the first quarter, when Jordan Larson scored on a block at net. After wasting their first four chances, the United States won the set with a victory for Akinradewo Gunderson, whose knee injury five years ago against Serbia contributed to the defeat.
Akinradewo Gunderson let out a scream after winning the second set with a net block and landed another key block at the end of the third.
Larson then won it with a kill that Serbia couldn’t return and fell to his knees in celebration as his teammates poured out onto the pitch.
Larson and Akinradewo Gunderson is a three-time Olympian who have played a major role in the success of Americans over the past decade. Now that their international careers are probably coming to an end, they still have a chance to win the prize that has eluded them.
It would do all the work they did during the coronavirus pandemic, training in their garages and building team chemistry through Monthly Zoom calls with a performance coach, it pays off.
âI’m not sure if I’ve found words on how to put it yet, but like Foluke said we’ve been working a lot off the pitch and it’s paying off now,â said Larson. âWe are committed to it as a team. You see it now. You see it is paying off and all these conversations that took place a year and a half ago when it was all shut down, that’s why.
The United States have been one of the best teams in the world for much of the past two decades, but were unable to reach the ultimate prize, falling to Brazil in the medal game. gold in 2008 and 2012. The United States also lost the gold medal match to China in 1984.
The Americans arrived in Tokyo as the highest ranked team in the world, and coach Karch Kiraly’s team reached that level despite some major injuries.
Passer Jordyn Poulter returned after missing the quarter-final game with an ankle injury, but facing Jordan Thompson he missed his third straight game with a right ankle injury.
Substitute Annie Drew rose again and led the team with 17 points.
Serbia were looking to return to the gold medal game after losing the final to China in 2016. The Serbs had swept five of their first six games in Tokyo, losing just once, in four sets against the Brazil, but had little answer for the Americans.
Brazil received a heavy blow before the match when Tandara Caixeta was sent home after being suspended over a doping case. Tandara was a member of the Brazilian gold medalist team at the London 2012 Olympics.
The Brazilian Olympic committee said Tandara was provisionally suspended for a potential anti-doping rule violation. The case concerns a sample taken a month ago in Brazil at a pre-Olympic training camp.
A message posted on Tandara’s Instagram account says the athlete will talk about the case once it’s over.
Brazil overcame that and knocked out South Korea to remain the only team in the men’s or women’s tournament to go undefeated seven times. Brazil have lost just four sets at the Olympics and are looking for their third gold in the last four Olympics.
South Korea are aiming for their second medal after winning bronze in Montreal in 1976.
On the men’s side, the Russians will face France for the gold medal on Saturday after Brazil face Argentina for the bronze.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)