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Larissa and Juliana stay positive to the finish and end wait for World Championship gold at Rome 2011
Larissa and Juliana banished the memories of two losses in women’s World Championship finals to end their long wait for the gold medal with a win over Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh at the FIVB Swatch World Championships Rome 2011 powered by smart.
The Brazilians had twice lost World Championship finals, including the 2005 edition to May-Treanor and Walsh, as well as take the bronze in 2007. This time though they held their nerve to fight back from 8-4 down to tie at 14-14 and go on to take victory, 21-17, 13-21, 16-14.
“Concentration was very important and we had to stay focused,” Larissa said. “We stayed firm mentally and took it ball by ball, like we did the whole match.
“All the World was watching this match, USA v Brazil, and knowing that made it difficult. We stayed united the whole match especially during the difficult moments.”
Juliana and Larissa have been the dominant duo in women’s beach volleyball. As well as World Championships medals they have won five of the last FIVB Swatch World Tour championships, but had yet to win gold at a major championship.
May-Treanor and Walsh by contrast were world champions three times and double and reigning Olympic champions, so held a psychological edge ahead of the game.
“I’m proud that we fought back and stayed strong when the game was difficult,” Juliana said. “We came prepared to fight and we were strong. We stayed strong and became more and more confident.”
For the United States pair it was not quite the dream finish to their comeback after two years out of the sport since winning gold at Beijing 2008.
“We never had it,” Walsh said. “It was a big lead and our goal with a big lead is to always extend it, but instead it shrank. I think we lost our rhythm and this game is all about rhythm.”
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