WGP2006 Home
Match Schedule
LIVE Scorebox
Match Info
Best players
Competition Info
Press releases
How they Qualified
Previous Editions

FIVB World Grand Prix 2006
Match Description
Italy swamp China in straight sets

 Reggio Calabria, Italy, September 8, 2006: Italy bounced back from their defeat to Cuba the previous evening by sweeping Olympic champions China in straight sets in the last Pool A match on Friday night.
 The Italians, who have never won the Grand Prix, had too much power and motivation for China and came home 25-17, 25-17, 25-14.
 Italy started as they intended to go on. Elisa Togut and Simona Rinieri-Dennis were quickly into their groove, while China's Wang Yimei struggled with both her accuracy and the Italian block.
 Francesca Piccinini brought up the first TTO with Italy in front 8-3 thanks to a clever drop-shot into space, and a mighty leap and spike by Togut on the right moved "Le Azzurre" ahead 10-4.
 China won three straight points to close the gap to three, but Togut ended the mini-slump with a piledriver down the middle on the run, 11-7.
 China sent in Zhou Suhong to try and bring some coordination to their game, but the Chinese were strangely lethargic. Italy, on the other hand, had plenty of players willing to take on the responsibility, none more so than Paola Paggi, who closed out the opening frame 25-17 after Togut had brought up set point at 24-16 with a powerful smash down the centre.
 Togut kept up her barrage of searing winners in the second set, and setter Eleonora Lo Bianco increased the frustration of China with a magnificent block on Yang Hao. Paggi did the same, and China responded by removing setter Feng Kun.
 Down 12-5, China called a TO, but still could not find any fight or cohesion on the resumption of play. A series of uncharacteristic errors, coupled with more focused play from Italy, was turning the match into a rout, 16-8 at the second TTO.
 From 22-14, Italy closed out the second set 25-17, the highlight being a block by Sara Anzanello on Wang that drew thunderous applause from the home supporters in the Palacalafiore. Paggi, enjoying an influential game, bagged the final point with a trademark winner.
 The third set continued in the same pattern, with Italy delighting their fans with a performance crackling with energy and attacking ideas.
 Italy's block was preventing China from building any attacking rhythm, and victory was in sight when the home team led 16-7 at the second technical break.
 Captain Rinieri-Dennis kept Italy moving forward toward their target, and libero Monica De Gennaro chased down every ball that pierced the blue block.
 Italy lost their way down the stretch and needed a TO to refocus at 21-12. Togut did just that, and Italy ended the one-sided match 25-14.