FAST-RISING Italy discovered the harsh facts of life after Russia dealt them a crushing blow in the Macau leg of the World Grand Prix volleyball tournament yesterday. Italy claimed their biggest scalp by defeating the Brazilians on Friday night, but they fell back to earth after proving no match for the Russians, who swept aside the Italians 15-11, 15-10, 15-8 at the Macau Forum. The Italians had never beaten the Russians before and fortunes were not going to swing in their favour as they felt the full brunt of the Russian juggernaut. 'We might have played five tough sets against the Brazilians on Friday night, but no matter what, we were never going to beat the Russians,' said Italian coach Anacolino Frigoni. Despite the defeat, Italy still have a chance of finishing second in the tournament if they defeat Japan in their final match today. For Russia, it was another impressive performance as they look set to snatch the Macau leg. They should overcome the Brazilians today, after Brazil suffered their second straight defeat, this time against the unfancied Japanese, 3-2. Yesterday, the Brazilians blew a two-set lead as the Japanese stormed back to record an exciting 9-15, 8-15, 15-6, 15-10, 15-13 victory. Brazilian head coach Bernardo Rezende was handed a yellow card during the third set for disputing a point and arguing with the referee. Japanese head coach Nobuchika Kuzuwa said his team's morale was high and that they would continue to play the way they played yesterday - solid and consistent - in their final match against Italy.