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Italy shine to take their sixth consecutive victory on home soil

Coach Mauro Berruto celebrates Italy's 3-1 victory over Poland

Rome, Italy, June 8, 2014 – Italy played Poland in Pool A in front of their home crowd at the superb historic setting in Rome’s Foro Italico, where they routed the Poles 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 15-25, 25-17) to stay undefeated in the tournament.

Poland, the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship hosts, played without their senior athletes but proved to have some promising young players.

The match was the week’s highlight as the teams had a unique opportunity to play outdoors for the first time in World League history. The match brought some memories back in time when the Foro Italico hosted the first outdoor edition of the European Championship in 1948.

The unforgettable encounter had a sold-out crowd of 11,000 and embraced the “Azzuri” in warm blue colours from their “Dress the Foro Italico in Azure” initiative. Just outside the Foro Italico, people witnessed the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship trophy, which was presented on Saturday during the Trophy Tour press conference.

Italian Ivan Zaytsev and Polish Rafal Buszek scored 18 points each.

The Italians built a quick lead in the first set with Zaytsev’s attacks dominating the Polish block. Zaytsev’s aces also conquered the opponents’ defence to give Italy a 5-2 advantage. Karol Kros’ block and Buszek’s service reduced the gap down to a more operable pace for Poland until the set was tied 17-all. The Italians’ service strength became decisive for the “Azzurri” to claim the first set 25-21. Zaytsev made the difference scoring eight points on a 75 per cent attack efficiency.

Italian captain Emanuele Birarelli took charge of the quick 6-3 start. Then a series of successful blocks by Matteo Parodi and Simone Parodi forced Poland coach Stephane Antiga to call timeout as his team was down by three points. Poland changed their opposite Grzegorz Bociek after encountering some difficulties on the attack that dropped to an efficiency of 37 per cent. Zaytsev headed the rally to secure the third set 25-20.

Poland sparked a run of their own in the third set alarming Italian coach Mauro Berruto to substitute Jiri Kovar with Filippo Lanza to take care of their defence. Poland made a series of good services with Buszek leading the charge to gain the five-point lead. The home side continued with their reception blunders as Poland jumped ahead by seven points and pushed further their dominance at the end of the third set 25-15.

Italy focused more in the fourth set with an 8-4 lead in the first TTO. Zaytsev once again produced a great performance that gave them a five-point advantage. Simone Parodi’s incredible ball save rallied to their 20th point allowing them to cruise to a 25-17 victory.

The two teams will meet again in Poland in the fourth week of the World League. These teams met 68 times, where Poland won 38 matches and Italy with 30 wins.


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