and Brazil set early pace
Italy, July 16, 2004 – The 2004 World League Final Round
opened with a blistering start from the hosts Italy and
defending champions Brazil when the two star teams won
their opening matches against Olympic champions Serbia
and Montenegro and Bulgaria respectively in the
beautiful Palalottomatica in Rome on Friday.
Pic: Matej Cernic attacks as Italy storm to
Italy were in sublime form against a
disappointing Serbia and Montenegro side, racing to an
early lead before powering to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22,
25-23) win on the back of some wonderful crowd support
in the first match.
With Brazil also beating Bulgaria 3-1 (25-17, 32-30,
18-25, 25-21) in a terrific tussle in the second match,
day two of the World League Final Round is set up with
two exciting matches on Saturday.
Italy’s win booked them a semifinal showdown with
Bulgaria while in a repeat of last year’s thrilling
World League final, defending champions Brazil take on
Serbia and Montenegro.
The "Blue" team beat Italy four times during the
Intercontinental Round as Italian coach Gianpaolo
Montali experimented with his lineup. This time however,
with his top line up in action, Montali’s men stormed to
a comprehensive straight sets win in front of a
passionate home crowd.
The atmosphere was electric as Italy’s big guns fired
all together with Andrea Sartoretti scoring 17 points,
Samuele Papi and Luigi Mastrangelo 11 and Alessandro Fei
9, which included the winning spike.
“We have demonstrated that in the big events we are able
to find the motivation and the mentality to beat any
opponent,” Italy’s Luigi Mastrangelo said. “But we have
to do better in the semifinal match.”
“We know Italy very well but they have definitely
studied the matches of the first round of the World
League,” Serbia & Montenegro’s top scorer Ivan Miljkovic
said. “In the difficult moments of the match we lost
concentration and Italy created a lot of problems for
us. We have to react in the second game of the
Brazil found the going tough against a stern Bulgarian
side, who were unlucky not to take more than the one set
off the world champions. It was a contested referee call
at the end of the second set which gave Brazil a 2-0
Saturday’s first match is at 18:30 (local time) with
Italy playing Bulgaria while Brazil play Serbia and
Montenegro at 21:00.