Samuele Papi

As one of the most experienced players in the Italian side Samuele Papi has been instrumental in Italy's success over recent years but it almost came to an abrupt end two years ago.

During pool play at the 2002 World Championship in Argentina a sound like a "crack of the whip" echoed around the Luna Park hall as Papi collapsed to the floor holding his left ankle. He didn't return to face Japan nor did he take any further part in the tournament and for many it's a miracle and a great pleasure to see that he's recovered to be included in Italy's World League campaign. 

The wing-spiker with 267 caps has been one of the lynch pins in this strong Italy team over the past seven years with a lethal attacking arm and stamina to match. At 190cm he's proved to be a phenomenal athlete and a crucial team player who loves to entertain. His leaping prowess in the No 6 jersey can surprise but more often than not it is his deadly accurate spiking arm is responsible for the majority of concern for opposing teams. 

Three World Championship titles, a World Cup and five World League triumphs are a testament to the quality of this Italian star and at 30 there's no doubting that he will add to the tally. Sooner, rather than later according to Italian fans.