Poland and Italy regroup before World League match in Katowice
After three weeks of competition, the Azzurri lead in the pool with with an impressive 18 points. They have not lost a single point yet. They are trailed by Brazil on five points, Iran on four and Poland on three.
The Poles, on the other hand, will hope for a chance to improve their ranking after only one victory in two weeks, a surprising 3-0 victory over Brazil. The entire team, however, is very happy with their play and highly optimistic about the matches in Poland.
"I like how we faced this match,” said Poland's head coach Stephane Antiga. “We were able to be on equal terms with Italy most of the time."
What caused both teams some trouble was the unusual venue in which the second game was played, the Foro Italico, an open tennis court in Rome.
"This is a big privilege and we are all happy to be here," said Italy's coach Mauro Berruto. "The match would have been strange without encountering a moment of difficulty but we had control of it. The stadium was full like in a final (match). It was an unforgettable night."
Coach Antiga did not bring some of his most experienced players for the tour around Brazil and Italy, but some of the younger ones made a great impression on him with their competitiveness, determination and hard work. They were not afraid of the opponents.
"We fought like equals till the end," commented Polish middle-blocker, Karol Klos.
"We played well, but in the final stages of all four sets the Italians showed their experience and this is what helped them win," added receiver Mateusz Mika.
This week, the experienced players are coming back to join the Polish team. Stars like Mariusz Wlazły, Michał Winiarski, Bartosz Kurek and Marcin Możdżonek have arrived in Katowice and have started training with the team again.
While Antiga brings back the stars for the matches in Poland, coach Berruto is giving some of his strongest players some rest – Ivan Zaytsev, who was unstoppable in both matches against Poland, Dragan Travica, Simone Parodi, Juri Kovar, Emanuele Birarelli, Salvatore Rossini are all staying home for the week.
The two matches in Poland take place on Friday, June 13 in Katowice and on Sunday, June 15 in Lodz, both at 19.30 local time.