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2005 edition
World Grand Prix 2004 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

China beat Italy 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 25-20) - duration 1:47
28-Jul, start time: 20:10, end time: 21:57 - Attendance: 2'800
City: Reggio Calabria; Hall : Palapentimele hall
Clinical China make a great start to Final Round
China took revenge for a defeat at the hands of Italy during the Preliminary Round one week ago to complete a clinical four set win over the hosts of the World Grand Prix Final Round in front of a passionate Italian crowd.

The defending champions made a superb start in the first set opening a remarkable 7-2 lead after only a few minutes. Italy replied by improving their digging and blocking to tie the set up at 14-14. However, China regained their dominance and it was left to Yuehong Zhang to claim the final point of the set.

In the second set Italian head coach Marco Bonitta called on Francesca Piccinini instead of Antonella Del Core and Italy immediately began to play improved Volleyball, opening a 6-2 lead. But it wasn't long before China found their fast attacking and their high blocking game again and tied the set up at 7-7. Italy claimed the lead again, arriving at the second technical time-out at 16-13 ahead but China's concentration was excellent and the blocking and digging work of Yanan Liu among others saw the Asian champions close the set at 25-22.

The third set was Volleyball at its finest with a superb duel being fought right through the set. China kept on spiking fast with Ping Zhang and Hao Yang their main attacking weapons, while Italy relied on a great performance from the recovering Elisa Togut. Neither of the two teams held more than a two point advantage until the final play. Italy failed at the first attempt to claim the set, before Antonella Del Core spiked home for the winner.

The fourth set just as similar as the third with long and spectacular rallies. China played more skilfully in the crucial points, taking a 17-10 lead. With the crowd behind them Italy desperately tried to close the gap but China's attacks were too strong. A great block by Hao Yang completed an excellent match and a comprehensive performance from the champions. An ominious sign for all opposing teams.