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Italy unveil a remarkable comeback for a 3-2 win over France

Rouzier acted as the main scorer of the game but Italy changed just in time to nail the win
Krakow, Poland, September 2, 2014 - FIVB Men’s World Championship Pool D in Krakow delivered another fantastic game that featured a phenomenal reaction by Italy to defeat France after being almost knocked out, from 0-2 to 3-2 (20-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-12).

Key points

France and Italy have faced each other 63 times, seven of them at FIVB World Championship.

However, the two of them didn’t cross paths for over two years, as the previous duel was in 2012 World League, which France won by 3-2.

That head-to-head record belongs to the Azzurri by 37-26 after this match. 

Italy was on the verge of losing their two first matches at the World Champs for the first time since 1974, but they regained their memory just in time.

Ivan Zaytsev was a rising star for the winning side, as he finished as the main scorer with 25 points, including the final kill. However, it was Antonin Rouzier from France who topped the charts of the game with 27 tallies. Italy also controlled France with their blocks, with a 15-8 margin.

In front of a good crowd in Krakow Arena, France began the game in a classy fashion, with blocks from Le Roux and Kevin Tillie to an early 6-1 lead. Even though Italy quickly bounced back, Les Bleus controlled the game being patient enough to close long rallies, via Rouzier and Earvin Ngapeth. Rouzier was indeed who worked the most to 16-12 first and, a while later, for the final 25-20.

Ngapeth was once again the flag bearer for France as the wing spiker added a couple of aces and several spikes for a firm advantage at 13-8. Rouzier also delivered a service point and the Frenchmen moved forward to 21-15, while Berruto’s substitutions in Italy - Baranowicz, Lanza and Colaci as second libero failed to bring immediate solutions. Le Roux pulled out a tight block to repeat a 25-20 score.

The 10-minutes break slowed down France and restored the Italian energy, to delight the crowd in Krakow. Les Bleus could only lead to 9-8, because after that Jiri Kovar became unstoppable and as both Baranowicz and Lanza stayed on court, Italy seized control (16-12). The Azzurri were able to advance to 23-18 and, although Le Roux, Nicolas Le Goff and Yoann Jaumel teamed up to resist, a bad serve gave the set to Italy by 25-23.

Completely back into the game, Italy subdued France throughout the whole fourth set, with Lanza and Kovar taking shifts to beat the French defence. Later on, Zaytsev unleashed three aces from 16-11 to 19-11 and allowed his side to smoothly reach a positive end. Kovar and Simone Buti formed a solid double-block to bring the set to a close, by 25-13.

Shining with confidence, Italy rushed to a 4-0 lead despite two challenge calls from France. Zaytsev spiked the way through to an 8-5 when trading courts, and Emanuele Birarelli enhanced to 10-5. Italy maintained the gap to 13-8 and, even though France spent their last bullets with some serves from Le Goff, Kovar and Zaytsev finished the game off by 15-12.


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