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Men's World Cup 2003 - Match description Info

Match description

Italy beat U.S.A. 3-0 (25-12, 29-27, 25-22) - duration 1:15
28-Nov, start time: 12:30, end time: 13:45 - Attendance: 1,550
Italy triumphs in third place clash
In an epic battle between two sides who have registered only one defeat in the 2003 Men's World Cup, Italy proved too powerful for USA as they recorded their eighth win of the tournament in Tokyo on Friday.

Both sides were desperate for victory to maintain their charge towards a ticket to the 2004 Olympics through a top-three finish but it was the European champions who had just a smidgen more class than the champions from NORCECA.

The first set is one USA would rather forget as the power and finesse of the Italian side was evident from the first serve. Italy's star offensive weapon and MIP Andrea Sartoretti was especially prevalent in the early stages, his ace giving Italy a 3-2 lead, before Italy kicked. A super serve from Luigi Mastrangelo gave Italy a four-point break at 8-4 before the lead increased to 14-8. Two blocks and a spike from the 202cm Mastrangelo extended Italy's dominance to 19-10 before Paolo Cozzi's third block of the set finished the proceedings.

Finally USA got going in the second set, opening a 6-4 lead and with referee calls going against the Italians, USA took advantage and began playing like everyone knew they could. Riley Salmon was particularly impressive in offense while a Ryan Millar block extended their lead to 11-7. But up stepped Sartoretti to the service line and with his lethal swinging serves Italy closed to 13-12 before Mastrangelo blocks to level at 14-14. USA tried to shake the Italians through Salmon's attacking arm (eight points for the set) but Italy grabbed the advantage at 26-25 through a Samuele Papi spike before Matej Cernic finished off a monster comeback with a punishing attack.

USA again opened an early lead in the third set at 8-6 but superb Sartoretti aced again to give Italy the lead at 11-10. This cushion was enough for Italy to push home for their sixth straight sets win and give them a great chance of sealing an Olympic ticket against Japan on Saturday.