Belgrade, Serbia, July 8, 2010 - Italy claimed the one point they needed to qualify for the 2010 FIVB World League Final Round in Cordoba, Argentina despite a 3-2 (21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-6) loss to last year's runners-up Serbia at home in Belgrade.
Serbia will now have to wait patiently to see if they will qualify as the best runner-up in the pool stages as they sit on 26 points.
After an evenly matched start the Italian attack began to find cracks in the Serbian defense. Their lead increased by the second technical time-out but the hosts fought back. However it was all in vain as Italy blocked a number of crucial balls to take a 1-0 lead.
Italy again took the lead in the second before the hosts moved ahead for the first time in the match. However the visitors regained the lead and successfully kept the distance between the two sides, extending their lead further.
Serbia established an early lead in the third, desperate to hang onto the game. However, the Italians provided the home side with a scare close to the end of the set and it was only a time out which helped settle the home sides nerves as they went on to claim the win.
Italian coach Andrea Anastasi changed his lineup slightly in the fourth however it was little help as Serbia stormed to an early lead again. The hosts managed to preserve the lead to finish the set on top, drawing even and taking the game to a tie-break.
Serbia came out furiously, going up 8-2 in the fifth. The Italians never managed to recover, and the home side clinched a very important victory which keeps them in contention for a Final Round spot.