Italy beat Korea 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-19) - duration 1:13
11-Sep, start time: 18:00, end time: 19:13 - Attendance: 7,200 Italy smashes Korea home
Italy was setting a new volleyball record. For the first time, the Italian team reached the semifinals of the World Championship after defeating Korea in straight sets. The Italian attack and block was extremely strong and the Squadra Azzurra never gave the Asians a chance in Stuttgart, where 7,200 fans enjoyed the match. Italy started the match very nervously. Spiker Elisa Togut could not score against a Korean one block (1-5). But the team of captain Manuela Leggeri finally got into the match. The Block of the South European squad improved. When Italy finally found its rythm, it was no surprise that the Italians took the lead (11-8). Their attacks became more and more effective. Togut and Simona Rinieri were unstoppable (16-13). Despite a weak phase in the middle of the set, it was quite easy for the team of head coach Marco Bonitta to win the first set 25-20. Korea started the second set with a very poor performance (0-7). The Asians did not find a gap in the Italian block and were not able to score against the well-organised defense of the "Squadra Azzura". Ryu Hoa-Suk's second time-out (4-11) seemed to take an immediate effect when his team scored two points in a row. But only towards the end of the set, Korea caught up because of some Italian mistakes (21-22). The 2001 European Championship silver medallist kept their nerves and defeated the Asian opponent 25-22. With a two sets lead, Italy started the third set highly concentrated and continued its powerful play (13-6). With a time-out at 13-19 and a double substitution at 19-21, the Korean head coach tried to get his team into the match again. But the strong attacks of Togut and her teammates were took much for the Asians (25-19). Thanks to this impressive performance, the Italian players secured a semifinals spot and are for the first time among the best four teams in the world. Elisa Togut (17 points), Anna Vania Mello (13 points) and Simona Rinieri (10 points) were the leading scorers.