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Italy announce line-up for Men's World Grand Champions Cup

Middle blocker Emanuele Birarelli (#15) will be Italy's captain at the upcoming World Grand Champions Cup in Japan

Rome, Italy, November 11, 2013 – Italy’s head coach Mauro Berruto announced on Monday the names of the 12 players who will fly to Japan on Friday to participate in the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup. The tournament will begin on November 19 in Kyoto with the finals set to take place on November 24 in Tokyo.

Out of the 12 players nominated by Berruto, nine were among those who won silver at the 2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European Championship in Copenhagen last September where Italy lost the final game to Russia.

Berruto has nominated the following players: setters Dragan Travica and Michele Baranowicz; spikers Ludovico Dolfo, Jiri Kovar, Filippo Lanza, Giulio Sabbi, Luca Vettori and Ivan Zaytsev; middle blockers Thomas Beretta, Emanuele Birarelli, and Matteo Piano; libero Salvatore Rossini.

“Unfortunately we will be missing two players (Simone Parodi and Cristian Savani) who are currently injured and we have to stress that we basically did not have any chance to prepare for this competition,” said Berruto.

“Since the players are busy with their clubs, we will meet on Friday as we leave for Japan but this does not have any influence on our goals and commitment. For the last three years we have set the goal to compete with the best teams in the world and this is exactly what is going to happen in Japan.

“This tournament will allow us to continue our development and will be an opportunity for our players to add more experience at this level to their resume. Sabbi and Dolfo are joining the team after they won gold at the Mediterranean Games last June while Baranowicz is back after playing with the team in the Intercontinental Round of this year’s World League.

“The nomination of these players for the Grand Champions Cup is also a recognition for what they have showed in the early phases of the national league. The formula of the competition will make sure that all 12 players that I have nominated will get the opportunity to play. The Grand Champions Cup is an opportunity to lay the foundations – though quite early – for the 2014 season where we will join the World League and then get ready for the World Championships in Poland, one of the milestones in the career of every single volleyball player,” concluded Berruto.

Italy will play Russia in the opening match of the tournament as they did in the European final before taking on Iran, United States, Japan, and Brazil. Italy won the inaugural edition of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in 1993 and a bronze medal in 2005. This will be Italy’s third appearance in the competition after the team received a wild-card assigned by FIVB/JVA/NTV to join four continental champions – Russia, Iran, Brazil, and USA – and hosts Japan.


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