FIVB - Women's Volleyball World Cup 2011


Costagrande superb as Italy clinch Olympic Games berth

Italy's Costagrande started slow but finished furiously in a five set win against Germany which secured her team a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Tokyo, Japan, November 16, 2011 – Defending champions Italy became the first team to join hosts Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games next year as they beat European neighbours Germany 3-2, (22-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-13, 16-14) in an outstanding match of stamina, character and mental strength in the second match on the opening day of the final round at Yoyogi Stadium on Wednesday.

Italy maintained their unbeaten record with a stunning victory, claiming their ninth win from as many matches to move to 25 points, and while it can be matched by other teams depending on the remaining results, Italy’s superior win record will keep the world No. 7 in the top two, even if they lose their next two matches without picking up any points. The win was also Italy’s 11th in 12 matches against Germany dating back to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the only time it was with a 3-2 scoreline.

Once again, Carolina del Pilar Costagrande led the way with 27 points, equalling her best performance of the tournament and the fifth best performance overall on her way to being named Italy's Most Impressive Player, despite having trouble mustering an attack in first two sets. The experienced Simona Gioli was her usual consistent self with 16 points while captain Margareta Kozuch led the way for Germany with 22 points in a match that her side controlled early on, but let slip away. Corina Ssuschke-Voigt put up a tournament record equalling eight blocks in a great defensive effort.

Women’s World Cup Results/Standings, Match Info, Photos or Live Scoring

Germany showed no fear of the Italians and jumped out to an early 7-3 lead with Kozuch attacking Italy’s Gioli hard on the left, and Grün posting a stingy block on Lucia Bosetti. But Costagrande brought her side even at 9-9 with a drive past a sprawling Lenka Dürr. A flurry of German errors allowed Italy to take a brief lead, but the Germans quickly regained controlled. Angelina Grün, Germany’s leading scorer in the tournament, continued to attack well, with a spike past Paola Croce putting her side ahead at 18-16. In contrast, Italian ace Costagrande struggled, as Kozuch stuffed her to go ahead 23-20, and then later easily evaded her block, tipping the ball out of her reach to bring up set point. A frustrated Costagrande would give the set to the Germans 25-22, driving a spike off the net and out.

Italy started the second looking more like themselves with a run of six unanswered points, but Germany bounced back with a drive from Grün, followed by a Kozuch spike off Costagrande’s would-be block making it 9-5. Germany’s Anne Matthes went through Costagrande’s block again to take the side further ahead before the explosive Matthes proved unstoppable out wide, adding four more spikes to help cut the lead to one, and then Corina Ssuschke-Voigt overpowered the smaller Eleonora Lo Bianco at the net to draw even at 19-19. From there it was all Grün, who scored Germany’s last four points and was relentless on the left wing, grabbing the second set 25-22 from a stunned Italian squad who squandered their early lead in the set.

Costagrande finally found her rhythm in the third, scoring half of her side’s points as they registered an 8-4 lead. But as in the previous set, Germany would bounce back thanks to the strong attacking from Kozuch and Christiane Fürst, who each chipped in a pair one after the other to make it 10-10. Gioli sent a strong spike off a Ssuschke-Voigt block to make it 16-12 to Italy before Bosetti contributed, putting in her third block of the match on Grün to go ahead 20-16. Germany’s Kozuch tried to rally her side, but Italy would take the third on a running cross-court drive from Gioli, 25-21.

The Italians kept that momentum going into the fourth with Costagrande putting away an attack after a determined run-down from back court by Croce to take a 7-2 lead. Gioli was attacking well, relentlessly driving hard attacks, the likes of which Germany had no answer for. Costagrande pitched in eight points including a spike late on the help Italy take an easy set 25-13 and taking the match to a tie-break.

Germany jumped ahead early on in the final set, but three drives from Gioli and spike from Del Core cut the lead to just one point. Germany’s Regina Burchardt responded with three attacks herself, to extend the German lead to 10-7, but a great block by Del Core on Ssuschke-Voigt helped Italy back to tie 10-10. But a couple of costly errors late by Brinker let Costagrande step up and fire a spike to complete the dramatic comeback 15-13.

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