The Italy team celebrate at the Palalottomatico in Rome following their hard-fought victory over USA
Rome, Italy, October 5, 2010 – Hosts Italy claimed a crucial victory over the reigning Olympic champions USA in the third round of the FIVB Men's World Championship, emerging with a 3-1 triumph (14-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-22) from a Pool O contest dubbed the 'clash of the titans'.
The success clears the way for Andrea Anastasi's team to advance to the semifinals, provided they can clear the hurdle of France on Wednesday.
Alessandro Fei and Cristian Savani led a well-balanced Italian offence, scoring 17 and 16 points respectively while Matej Cernic contributed another 12 points. For the United States, Clayton Stanley and Reid Priddy compiled 20 and 19 points and Sean Rooney added 14. In the tough defensive battle at the net, the Americans prevailed 15-12 with Priddy and David Lee registering three blocks apiece. Italians Fei and Andrea Sala each compiled three also.
FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 official page
The Azzurri claimed an early lead at 8-6 thanks to an aggressive attack on the part of Simone Parodi and spiker Savani. The Americans responded to go 16-10 ahead with the help of an extraordinary service percentage from David Lee and Stanley who rocketed balls across the net. Add the form of Priddy, who brought home seven points, and a low attacking percentage of just 26 per cent from Italy and it was no surprise the US prevailed 25-14 in the first set.
Italy sought to seize the initiative in the second set, and turned up the heat through Savani and Fei who kept the points coming with spikes and blocks. At the Second Technical Timeout (STT), Anastasi’s team held the advantage at 16-13 and they retained it at the conclusion of a well-balanced set (25-23), with blocker Andrea Sala adding four points to the scoreboard.
The Americans were still lagging behind at the start of the third set with middle blocker Luigi Mastrangelo helping Italy take the score to 7-3 by centering a total of five points. USA coach Alan Snipe replaced Sean Rooney with Paul Lotman and his team profited from the switch, reaching the finish of the set level at 24-24. However, it was Italy who edged it with a score of 28-26.
Italy completed their victory with an assertive display in the fourth set. They succeeded in countering the Americans' attacks and ran out 25-22 winners with Mastrangelo scoring the final point. Parodi and Matej Cernic played a crucial role with an incredible 100 per cent receiving rate.