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Men's World Championship 2002 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

Italy beat Japan 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 26-28, 25-16) - duration 1:43
05-Oct, start time: 18:40, end time: 20:23 - Attendance: 3,825
Italy defeats Japan but lost injured Samuele Papi
Italy defeated Japan in the second match of the 2002 Men's World Championship and is the leader of Pool G now. The Italians lost key player Samuele Papi first set, when he twisted his left ankle and had to leave the court. On Sunday, Italy will play against Argentina, while Japan will face Bulgaria.
In the first set, Italy was superior over Japan and reached the first technical time out with a 8-3 lead. The advantage persisted for the Europeans thanks to five attacks and two blocks of Alessandro Fei. Italy made the gap bigger (16-7). Due to a ligament strain in the left ankle, Italian star Samuele Papi had to be replace by Cristian Casoli when they were up in the score (22-15). Papi tried to block the ball, but when he landed on the floor, his ankle twisted. In spite of this substitution, the three time World Champions won the first set easily.
In the second set, the Asian started more concentrate and thanks to the 75% in reception Japan reached the technical time out just one point ahead. With five points of Luigi Mastrangelo, Italy improved and took the lead of the match. The absence of Papi did not have any effect on their effectiveness and the Italians won the second set (25-20).
The beginning of the third set was just like the second one. Three attacks of Atsushi Kobayashi gave Japan a 16-13 lead. The team coached by Andrea Anastasi recovered thanks to six points and 100% in reception of Hristo Zlatanov . In an exiting end, the Italians couldn't close the match and finally Japan took advantage of it and won the set.
In the last set, Italy took off from the beginning thanks to the 100% in reception of Italian libero Mirko Corsano. The Europeans were more concentrate and won the last set easily. Alessandro Fei was the best scorer of the match with 25 points, followed by his teammate Hristo Zlatanov (16).
Cristian Casoli said: "We didn't play very well. I don't know what happened to Papi, but against Argentina we are going to feel his absence."
/ajm