The Netherlands, who finished only fourth in their qualifying group, were literally too big an obstacle for the Italians - 10 of their squad stand over 6ft 7in tall. They will now have to overcome the world silver medallists, Cuba, who beat Spain to reach the final. In the other quarter-finals last night, the United States overcame the Unified Team while Brazil, who will meet the US in the other semi-final, accounted for Japan.
THE dominant team in men's volleyball for the last four years will not win the gold. Italy, the world champions, were beaten in a marathon five-set quarter-final by the Netherlands.