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World League 2002 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

Yugoslavia beat Italy 3-1 (28-26, 29-27, 23-25, 25-21) - duration 1:41
18-Aug, start time: 9:00, end time: 10:41 - Attendance: 17,450
Yugoslavia takes bronze medal with 3-1 against Italy
In one of the most closely fought matches of the tournament, the two sides traded the lead right up until the final blow, driven on by the screams, drum beats and music surrounding them.
From the opening whistle it was clear there was to be no mercy from these neighboring countries. Yugoslavia started strongly but Italy whittled away at their lead and drew level at 11-all. Seizing the initiative the always vigilant Valerio Vermiglio, small but deft, set elegantly to assist his team to a 2-point lead. Twenty-five minutes into the set with the sides ties at 23-all. Geric served the set point for Yugoslavia but Italy's shot over the net found the sure hands of Miljkovic who gave his team a 28-26 first set.
Italy edged ahead in the second set at 14-12 then a smash by Alessandro Fei landed outside the line. With every point an individual battle, both sides had to pull all their power, tricks and finesse out of the bag. At the 15-minute mark Italy had a three-point edge. Fei's attack added another, neutralized in the next rally by a smash from Miljkovic. Goran Vujevic smashed to level and two quick points gave them the lead. Fei and Pasquale Gravina at the net for Italy countered for 24-24. A great kill by Andrija Geric gave Yugoslavia set point at 27-26, but Fei was again ready to save the point, but at the next set point, Miljkovic put away the winner for 2-0 for Yugoslavia.
Both teams traded the lead in the third set but at the six minute mark Yugoslavia was two points ahead. Fei's attack again put Italy ahead and a service error by Grbic gave the Italians a cushion of 3 points. Italy had set point on a Yugoslav attack error and they were back in the match.
Yugoslavia put away the final set 25-21 in just over 20 minutes, defeating the team that has dominated this Tournament in its 13-year history and who have won the World League on eight previous occasions.
/mh