May 23, 2003 - The new national coach of the Italian men's team Gian Paolo Montali is happy with his side's spirit ahead of their opening World League Pool C match against Portugal on Friday night in Perugia, Italy.
Although the Italian Superliga has only finished last weekend and players like Matej Cernic (Kerakoll) and Luca Tencati (Sisley) have just been able to now join up with the rest of the Squadra Azzurra, the Italian coach is confident that he can get his side off to the perfect start, as Italy hopes to address last year's fourth-place finish, their worst result in the World League. "There is a great spirit of sacrifice on the part of all," Montali said, "but one thing is certain. I like to win and this feeling has been transferred to the Italian team, even though we are in the process of reorganization."
Realizing the two top place getters in the Pool proceed through to the Final Round in Spain in July, Italy is one of the favourites in Pool C but there will be stiff opposition for the top spot from World Champions Brazil, who play Germany in the other Pool C matches this weekend.
Italy's second game against Portugal is on Sunday in Benevento.