All white on the night...Italy celebrate fifth place
Tokyo, Japan, December 3, 2006: Italy swept France 3-0 to clinch fifth place in the 2006 FIVB World Championships at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.
The European champions won a fast-paced match 25-19, 25-17, 30-28, sealing victory on their fourth match point with a classic spike from Alessandro Fei.
Italy won the first set 25-19 in only 19 minutes.
As expected, Fei led the scoring with eight points, all of them spikes, and Alberto Cisolla had five.
The Italian block worked well in the first set, with two block points each for Luigi Mastrangelo and Andrea Semenzato.
In reply, Frantz Granvorka scored four spikes for France.
Italy romped ahead in the second set. Down 6-2, the French called a TO, but Cisolla struck from the left immediately on the resumption of play, forcing France to change captain Stephane Antiga for Florian Kilama. Fei brought up the first TTO of the second set with Italy holding a six-point lead, and that grew to 10 at 13-3, when France called another TO.
Kilama on the left and a Romain Vadeleux block brought France closer, but the Italians entered the second TTO ahead 16-7 thanks to an easy winner on the right by the unchallenged Mastrangelo.
Oliver Kieffer scored a service ace, and Ludovic Castard raised French spirits with a clean winner on the right, a block on Cisolla when the two number eights went head to head, and then a spike past a three-man Italy block.
But the gap was too wide, and Italy came home 25-17 on their second set point.
Mastrangelo brought up set point at 24-16 with another easy kill, and Semenzato finished it with a languid swat at the net.
Needing to raise their game in the third set, France did just this, and had their contingent of fans in the stands singing "Allez Les Bleus" to add a bit of atmosphere to the occasion.
Italy led 8-6 at the first TTO, and captain Samuele Papi and setter Valerio Vermiglio maintained the momentum, the setter with a nifty finish after a decoy jump from Semenzato.
A Gerald Hardy Dessources block on Fei highlighted the French desire, and Xavier Kapfer pounded a winner from the left to nudge them ahead 14-13.
The action was fast and furious as the scoreboard raced along, full of power spikes and lightning digs to entertain the crowd.
After Cisolla had pulled Italy level 15-15 with another well-timed spike from the left, Castard took the French into the second TTO with a one-point lead.
Kilama and Papi exchanged thunderous blows on the right side of their respective courts as the teams stayed together to 20-20.
Trailing 21-20, France called a TO, and Kapfer came back to pull them level again, 21-21.
A well-worked Italian move saw Cisolla score from the left after a Mastrangelo decoy leap, and the big middle blocker then pounded his team ahead 23-22.
A Pierre Pujol block on Papi gave France set point at 24-23, but Vadeleux served into the net.
France would miss one more set point before Fei leapt and spiked across court from the right on Italy's fourth match point to clinch fifth place.