China's players attend the awarding ceremony for the women's final of Volleyball at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 20, 2016. China won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Yue Yuewei)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- China won the most coveted gold in the women's volleyball by beating Serbia in the final with a convincing 3-1 at the Rio Olympics on Saturday.
The Rio gold is China's third Olympic title for the women's volleyball after its triumphs
in 1984 and 2004, while Serbia was playing in the Olympic final for the first time having previously never progressed beyond the quarterfinals.
The final was hotly contested as China and Serbia battled hard in each set of the match which last one hour and 37 minutes.
China started slow again, losing the opening set at 19-25, but world class coach Lang Ping's girls clawed back to take the next three sets at 25-17, 25-22, 25-23.
The United States took bronze by beating the Netherlands.
In the men's football final, Neymar converted the decisive spot-kick as Brazil ended their long wait for Olympic football glory with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over their 2014 World Cup tormentors Germany.
The Brazil captain held his nerve after the scores were tied 1-1 at the end of extra-time in a pulsating final at the Maracana stadium.
Lars Bender was the only player to miss in the shootout, with Brazil goalkeeper Weverton punching away the midfielder's feeble attempt.
Neymar earlier opened the scoring with a superb first-half free-kick but Germany equalized through a 59th-minute strike from captain Max Meyer.
Brazil's victory came barely two years after they crashed out of the World Cup on home soil with a 7-1 loss to Germany in Belo Horizonte, a result that was described by the country's media as a national tragedy.
An Olympic Games triumph had been the only major prize to elude the five-time World Cup winners and their bid for gold in Rio had become something of an obsession.
As for China, who's making the final spurt on the medals table, grabbed four gold medals on the penultimate matchday of the Games, including the women's volleyball title.
China's Zheng Shuyin matched her boyfriend Zhao Shuai's Olympic feat when she upset 2008 Olympic champion Maria del Rosario Espinoza Espinoza of Mexico to win the women's +67kg taekwondo title.
Zheng, inspired by Zhao's victory in the men's 58kg category on Thursday, fully executed her advantage in height over Espinoza Espinoza and won the final by 5-1. It was China's second gold medal of these Games in taekwondo.
"I am taller so I tried to keep my distance. If she is close she is faster than me, so I kept her away," said Zheng, who is 14cm taller than her Mexican opponent.
In badminton, Chinese number one Chen Long defeated Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia 21-18, 21-18 to claim the gold medal in the men's singles.
So far, Lee has lost the last three Olympic finals, prolonging Malaysia's wait for a gold medal at the Olympics. In the last two finals, Lee lost to Chinese Lin Dan in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. This time in Rio, the Malaysian had his revenge by eliminating Lin in the semifinal. However, he failed again in the final against an overwhelming Chen.
"I feel a bit pity for not winning the gold, but this is the match. I have tried my best," said the 33-year-old Lee. "Every Olympic has different experience. For this Olympics, I trained very hard."
Diver Chen Aisen clinched his second gold medal of the Rio Olympics by winning the men's 10m platform. Chen also claimed the men's synchronized platform title in Rio alongside Lin Yue on August 8.
Elsewhere, the US underlined its supremacy again at the Olympic stadium by winning three athletics golds.
The US ran their best time of the year to win gold in the men's 4x400m relay, 86 hundredths of a second ahead of silver medalist Jamaica.
Lashawn Merritt, Arman Hall, Tony McQuay, and Gil Roberts confirmed their favoritism by charging to victory in two minutes 57.30 seconds.
The US also won the women's 4x400m relay final - their sixth in a row - by streaking to a comfortable victory in final.
The US recorded a season's best 3 minutes 19.06 seconds to defeat Jamaica by 1.28 seconds.
Courtney Okolo gave the US an early lead and it was maintained for the rest of the race by Natasha Hastings, Phyllis Francis and Allyson Felix.
It was Felix's third medal of these Games following her gold in the 4x100m relay and silver in the 400m.
And Matt Centrowitz became the first American to win the Olympic men's 1,500m final in more than a century, holding off a late challenge from Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi.
The 26-year-old took gold in three minutes 50.00 seconds, just 0.11 seconds ahead of Makhloufi.
Mel Sheppard was the last American to win the event at the 1908 Olympics in London.
Britain's Mo Farah secured his second victory by winning the 5,000m title in 13 minutes 3.30 seconds, just over a second ahead of Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet.
Farah is only the second man to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m at two consecutive Olympics.
After Saturday's finals, the United States top the medals table with 43 golds on back of its strong performance in athletics. Britain places second on 27 golds with China third on 26.