Short characterization ITALY








WCH 2002





PAPI Samuele

OG 2004



LASKO Michal 3



WCH 2006





SAVANI Cristian   (C)

OG 2008



TRAVICA Dragan 6


FEI Alessandro 2

WCH 2010





BARI Andrea   (L)

OG 2012



GIOVI Andrea   (L)



The team of ITA has an average age of 30,75 year. Four players are 23 - 28 years old and eight are 30-39 years. Nine of the players have already played at last World Championship 2010, only three have played at Olympic Games 2008. In general ITA is a team with international experienced players who played many international matches.

The team of ITA has an average body height of 198, 7 cm (without the 2 libero’s). The two libero’s are resp.1,85 m. (Andrea Bari) and 1.85 (Andrea Giovi). ITA is the only men’s team during the Olympics that played with two libero’s. Bari played as a libero-receiver and Giovi as a libero-defender.

ITA can be characterized as a team with experienced players who are especially strong in service reception, attack and block. Rank 3 (Lasko) 4 (Savani) and 9 (Zaytsev) in ranking best scorers and rank 7 in team-ranking block.

Captain of ITA Christian Savani launched the fastest serve of the OG 2012 when he fired one off at 127 km/h. and his score of 31 points in one match was a record for an Olympic medal match. Savani had the highest score of service aces (20 in total) in the OG. He had a total score of 108 points in total for service, spike and block together during the whole OG. ITA had in the pool matches 3 wins against AUS (3-2), GBR (3-0) and ARG (3-1) and 2 lost against BUL (3-0) en POL (3-1). The total set result in the pool was 10 won and 9 lost. The team surprisingly won its quarterfinal against USA (3-0), but lost in the semifinal against BRA (3-0). After this result ITA played the “bronze final” at the 2012 London Olympics against BUL. ITA lost the first set but rallied to come back and defeat Bulgaria (3-1) to capture the men’s volleyball bronze medal. Savani was the real man of the match as he scored 23 points, including 7 aces. Alessandro Fei played his fourth Olympics, he won his third Olympic medal, giving him two bronze and one silver in his long career. Similarly to what had happened in the previous editions of the Olympic Games, ITA could not fulfil their dream of gold in London but finally were still happy to claim their fifth Olympic medal after edging Bulgaria 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-22, and 25-20). This honour is to be added to two silver medals (1996 and 2004) and bronze (1984 and 2000) and confirms that the team put together by coach Mauro Berruto is solid. The bronze medal match of the men’s tournament was a remake of the game claimed by Bulgaria in straight sets during pool play, but this time much more was at stake in the last round of action. ITA captained by Cristian Savani caught a good start scoring mainly via their middle blockers, with Alessandro Fei playing once again in this position. ITA played with good intensity but still not with the same quality they had displayed in their terrific 1/4 final match with USA.


Complex I – Attack (first ball side out)

The attacking combinations / tempo’s are primarily terminated from the outside positions (P4/2) and from the back-court (P6/1) by Lasko (opposite) and the two receiver-attackers Savani and Zaytsev The combinations are based on a high level of serve reception performance: 68,11% success (libero Andrea Bari), while the mean % of the teams was 62.77%. Bari makes sometimes “little jump actions" just before the service. Covering sometimes half or more of the field width (4-5 meters) he showed many individual technical reception variations. For a jumpfloat service reception is performed with 3 players, often by overhead passing and about 4-5 meters (13-16 feet) from the net. In case of a jumpspin by opponent the players stay deeper, about 7 meters or more from the net. Receivers are focused by having their hands on their thighs to rest. Frequently 3-point-reception and punch technique (side- and backwards) are used. Sometimes the arms and hands of the service-passer move to the floor; when the ball is played. On (jump) float serve much overhead reception is used. See the video clips.

In the different rotations in most cases only one version of attack combination is played. ITA plays simply and effective structured attack combinations in Complex I. Strategy is to play quick attack with jump sets (always taking the ball as high as possible) with quick sets to middle player, while all other hitters are in last step of approach when setter touches the ball.

A lot of backcourt attacks are performed by both outside hitters and opposite. Backcourt attack variation depends of the net position of setter and first tempo player where it is played.

The variable set distribution (good timing, precise and individually adapted) is especially demonstrated with the video clips showing the setter at P1/6/5.

When the setter is acting close to the net at P4/3/2 the 3-meter attacks are integrated into the attack combinations. In the attacks Lasko (scoring by 96 spikes), Savani (77) and Zaytsev (76) played an important role. Their attacking performance -together with the quick attackers (offensive offer for 1st tempo!!) in almost all rotations- are good examples for attacking approach (see the video clips).

By spreading the attack with quick sets to the antennas, the blockers get in trouble especially if they start from a central position. Besides the spreading strategy the "overload principle" is applied. Especially the back court attack combinations give pressure on the block because a "supernumerary" situation of attackers is created.

Beside the signaled attacking combination the setters, and depending on the real match situation all the other players too, try to prepare optimum conditions for attacks (inclusion of the libero, underhand set).


Complex II – Block

ITA has shown a good level of block performance in kill blocks and rebounds.

ITA is 7th in team ranking (23,73% kills / 2,3 average by set). Middle blocker Mastrangelo and opposite Lasko (both rank 13 ex aequo: 0,45 average by set) and middle blocker Fei (rank 20: 0,41 average by set) rank highest in the individual ranking. Mastrangelo was scoring 13 kill blocks, Lasko also 13 and Fei 12.

ITA successfully applies different options of block arrangement according to the needs of the match situation. To make additional service pressure ITA sometimes make a screen with the block just before the opponent is receiving the service. Players then keep their hands on the head, so it seems as if no screen is made with hands, but in fact, the screen is just wider because the arms are bent and the elbows are placed sideways. The pos. 5 and pos. 6 player complete the screen behind the blockers The libero often organizes these block arrangement. Considering these actions the precise adaptation of the positions of the outer block player, the extreme fight to arrange closed group blocks to fight tempo attacks with quick leg actions (varying step sequences: especially running step - closing step, coordination of the bloc actions) are impressive. When observing ITA the decision making performance (choosing block or defense/covering) of the outside attackers (P4) and special blocking tactics of the setter at the net (compare also RUS/BRA/BUL) are interesting to notice. By systematically applying scouting information (serve /blocking tactics) the team can successfully implement a highly organized strategy which is adapted to the opposing team’s style of play.

Court positioning and organization of blocking depends of the starting position of the setter and front row hitters of the opponent.

Different step combinations and blocking positions are adapted to the play situation.

Because of the quick settings and attack combinations the block is regular under pressure. The result is that different movement techniques are used to try to form a block in time. Of course, the time that the block needs to be influenced by self-service with a difficult to enforce a higher attack. This gives the own blockers more time for a well organized block.The performed displacement technique is dependent on the position where the set is given. Also in cases of a less good pass, there is still the possibility of a relatively fast (jump) setup. ITA organizes a central 3-block against opposite’s pipe attack. Tactical adaptation of blocking based on statistics and tactical analysis of opponent is always possible.

ITA shows good level of individual performance in defense (digging and emergency skills).

Team performance in defense (motivation to better the ball) depends of the flow of the game.

The video clips show that ITA played nice 2-synchronized block with cross-over technique and a standard most commonly used defense up to a 2- or 3-block in pos. 2.


Complex II – Attack (transition)

In Complex II, based on good blocking and defense performance, ITA plays transitions with effective variation of quick and sometimes high attacks, incorporating back row attack combinations.

In freeball-situations ITA shows attack with variable pass distribution with a trend towards „quick outside attack from position 4“; sometimes pipe-combination and back sets, usually for the opposite Lasko.

In defensive situations (no touch and block touch) in most cases high and closed group blocks make a well arranged and successful action of the defensive formation possible. Based on this the resulting counter attacks are in the majority of the attacks terminated from outside positions. ITA applies semi-high sets to backcourt attackers in complicated situations (without precise defense).

In match situations with a repeated counter attack following attack coverage are relatively rare. Obviously they are consciously avoided. In case it happens outside attacks dominate. Block covering players are very observant and act with supreme effort (quick movements, deep defense). In case of a good quality of the defensive actions a quick transition to counter attacks at the net and from the backcourt is arranged.

In transition the defenders start from the positions used for the first tempo attack. At higher attack a closed 2 – or 3- block can be placed are the defenders from the first tempo position slightly to the rear.