FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Italy can match the best teams in the world: Travica

Dragan Travica sets in Italy's second win over Brazil on the opening weekend of the World League

 Lausanne, Switzerland, May 25, 2014 – Italy will host the Finals of the FIVB World League this year, but their opening weekend in Brazil suggested that Mauro Berruto’s team will not be coasting down the road to Florence and are likely to be a danger to any team once they get there. 

Their debut in this year’s World League was significant. Two wins away to Brazil is something that happens very, very rarely. As usual, Brazil had passionate support, but the applause was all Italy’s after a stunning weekend of volleyball and a double victory over the world’s top-ranked team. 

“Beating Brazil twice on their turf is not something that happens every day,” Italy’s Dragan Travica said. “Obviously we're really happy with this weekend. It was really positive both in terms of results but also as a team, especially since it has been a long time since we played together. We may have amazed others, but we also amazed ourselves. We realized that we have become a team capable of being split up for several months but able to immediately resume the pace and the game that we had before. This is a sign of strength, but above all of great maturity. 

“I believe that Italy over the last three to four years has regained the respect of opposing teams as well as our fans. There are few who think that we still have some way to go, but without being presumptuous and with all humility I say that we can play alongside the best teams in the world.” 

Travica also revealed what he felt was Italy’s key weapon.

"The most beautiful thing I've seen in these two games was the smile on the faces of the whole squad,” he said. “I have to look carefully at the state of mind of my teammates. Personally, I am someone who smiles a lot and this year I have learned to smile even more. The experience I had abroad made me realize that serenity is never enough. The smiles I saw were the things that I liked about these two games. The way we handled ourselves on court was a joy to behold.”

The Azzurri were scheduled to arrive back in Rome early on Monday. After a couple of days rest, they will meet up again in Trieste to prepare for the second weekend’s games against Iran.

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