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FIVB World League 2006
Match Description
Brazil tame the "wild" to beat Italy 3-1

Brazil's captain Ricardo setting

Brazil started the game desperate to make a mark after yesterday's drubbing by Bulgaria, but Italy were also out to make a stand, despite being weakened by injury and Alessandro Fei had already made his mark on the tournament as yesterday's top scorer with 28 points - a clear twelve points ahead of Bulgaria's Vladimir Nikolov in second place.

The teams got off to an evenly matched start with some quick-fire rallies as both sides used the wings for some sharp spiking. After the first technical time-out, Brazil moved ahead to a five-point advantage before Gianpaolo Montali called a time-out. Brazil then extended their lead on the back of some solid blocking by Giba, Heller and Ricardo to leave Italy trailing by eleven points before Italy's attacks had any effect. A net touch by Italy gave Brazil the first set point, which Andre served out, but Italy's reply went out to hand Brazil the first set 25-14.

At the start of the second set, Italy were forced to redesignate a libero as Mirko Corsano received treatment for a knee injury on the bench. Captain Samuele Papi came on as the replacement, which proved to be a blessing in disguise, as Italy took six of the first seven points before Bernardo Rezende called a time-out. This had little effect as Italy reached the first technical time-out six points ahead at 8-2. Although Brazil made up some of the difference, Italy remained in control with some excellent plays, including a solo block by top-scorer Alessandro Fei after one of the longest rallies, followed shortly afterwards by a powerful cross-court spike to take Italy seven points clear at the second technical break. Brazil found it hard to close down the Italian advantage, with three service erros in the closing stages of the set compounding their problems. Gianpaolo Montali brought on his tallest player, Andrea Semenzato, in the closing stages for the final serves to consolidate the team's advantage and take them on to win the second set 25-17.

Brazil took control at the start of the third set with a series of devastating serves by Andre Nascimento and captain Ricardo constantly encouraging his team from his central position at the net. Brazil took a seven-point lead following the first technical time-out after some excellent recoveries by libero Sergio. With Italy giving away the few serves it had, Brazil maintained its lead with an ace from Andre, who smashed his team into the second break. Brazil kept the serving advantage until 21-15, when Italy converted their serve after Brazil left the back court open. The azzuri then reduced their deficit to four points before Rezende called the first time-out in the set. Brazil's head coach brought on Anderson and Marcelinho in the closing stages, as Italy continued to counter. But Brazil put up a strong defence to close the set at 25-19.

Italy's defence in the fourth set included an overhead kick from the wrong side of the net by Cristian Savani that was worthy of his country's world champion football team. Italy were never more than three points adrift but an ace by Dante Amaral spun off the net at 14-11 and a service error by Italy left them trailing by four points at the second break. Alessandro Paparoni brought Italy back into the game with an ace, but his follow-up serve hit the net. Bernardo Rezende again brought on Marcelinho and Dante to keep up the pressure for the final points, but some strong attacks by Italy closed the gap to two points. Montali then replied by again bringing on Semenzato for the final serves, but Brazil stayed ahead to take the match on a Giba spike 25-14, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21.