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Co-hosts Italy, Bulgaria set early dominance at World Championship openers

A sellout crowd of 11,170 filled the Foro Italico in Rome for the opening match of the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championship between Italy and Japan.
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 9, 2018 - Italy shut out Japan and Bulgaria swept Finland as both co-hosts opened the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championship with victories on Sunday evening, establishing themselves as forces to be reckoned with at the start of the three-week, 94-match volleyball extravaganza.

Valentin Bratoev attacks before the Finnish block of Sauli Sinkkonen and Samuli Kaislasalo as he leads Bulgaria to victory in Varna on the opening day of the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championship.

These are the highlights of Day 1 in Italy and Bulgaria:

• Italy beat Japan 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-23) and Bulgaria outplayed Finland 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-22).
• Ivan Zaytsev led Italy's well-distributed scoring with 13 points. The hosts were vastly superior to Japan on the net, dominating attacking (63% to 45%) and blocking (nine stuffs to one).
• Nikolay Uchikov led the scoring for Bulgaria with 14 points, as the Balkan side served eight aces (to three) to counter Finland's eight blocks (to two).
• The opening match in Rome was played in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella. President of Bulgaria
Rumen Radev attended the match in Varna.

Match Centres:
Bulgaria-Finland 3-0
Italy-Japan 3-0

Italy middle blocker Simone Anzani rises high before Japan's Akihiro Yamauchi as Italy dominate Japan in Rome at the opening match of the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championship.

Competition resumes on Wednesday 12 September with a full schedule and action across all four six-team pools.

• Italy and Japan move to Florence for the remainder of their Pool A matches, alongside the Dominican Republic, Slovenia, Belgium and Argentina.
• Bulgaria and Finland remain in Varna for the rest of their Pool D matches, alongside Iran, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Poland.
• Pool B in Ruse features France, China, the Netherlands, Canada, Brazil and Egypt.
• Pool C in Bari includes Cameroon, Tunisia, Australia, Russia, USA and Serbia.

Match Centres for Wednesday 12 September:
Dominican Republic v Slovenia in Florence (Pool A) at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
Belgium v Argentina in Florence (Pool A) at 20:30 local time (18:30 GMT)
France v China in Ruse (Pool B) at 14:00 local time (11:00 GMT)
The Netherlands v Canada in Ruse (Pool B) at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT)
Brazil v Egypt in Ruse (Pool B) at 20:30 local time (17:30 GMT)
Cameroon v Tunisia in Bari (Pool C) at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT)
Australia v Russia in Bari (Pool C) at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
USA v Serbia in Bari (Pool C) at 20:30 local time (18:30 GMT)
Iran v Puerto Rico in Varna (Pool D) at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT)
Cuba v Poland in Varna (Pool D) at 20:30 local time (17:30 GMT)

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018
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