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Italy, France win friendlies ahead of World Championship

Juantorena spikes against China
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 3, 2018 – In preparation for the upcoming FIVB World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria from September 9 through 30, the national teams of France and Italy scored friendly game victories over Serbia and China, respectively.

In front of four thousand spectators at a sold-out Kioene Arena in Padua, the Italians delivered a 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-17) shutout of China with Osmany Juantorena leading the scorers with 16 points. Chuan Jiang was China’s most prolific point-maker, scoring nine times for the Asian side. The home squad’s good serving effort made the big difference in the game. The reception also worked well, allowing setter Simone Giannelli to show off his talent in managing the team’s offence.

Great turnout in Padua for Italy’s friendly with China

"Initially, we had some difficulties in finding our game pace, but as the match developed things improved. In the first stages of the World Championship, we will have to play very concentrated as we will be tackling teams that recently beat us," Italy’s libero Massimo Colaci said.

“Considering that it had been a long time since we played a game, we did well,” Giannelli added. “We played a well organized game and tried to put into practice the things we have been working on for a long time. We have seen good things, but we know that the road is long and there are things to improve."

In the meantime, Italy’s coach Gianlorenzo Blengini announced the squad of 14 players which will represent the co-hosts at the World Championship: setters Simone Giannelli and Michele Baranowicz, opposites Ivan Zaytsev and Gabriele Nelli, outside hitters Filippo Lanza, Osmany Juantorena, Gabriele Maruotti and Luigi Randazzo, middle blockers Simone Anzani, Daniele Mazzone, Davide Candellaro and Enrico Cester, and liberos Massimo Colaci and Salvatore Rossini.

"It is never easy to make these choices, especially for an event as important as the World Championship,” coach Blengini commented. “The choices always take into account many factors - not only individual ones, but also the chemistry and the technical balance that each department has within the team."

Also on Sunday, and in the absence of Earvin Ngapeth, suffering from an abdominal injury, France came back from two sets down to master a 3-2 (26-28, 25-27, 25-19, 25-13, 15-12) victory over Serbia at the Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin in Paris. Julien Lyneel and Kevin Tillie scored 22 points each for the home side, while Uros Kovacevic was Serbia’s best scorer of the match with 20 points.

"We started the game very well, but very slowly. The Serbs got the upper hand with an incredible quality of serving,” France’s coach Laurent Tillie commented. “It was important to remember what it means to suffer in order to win. No match will be easy and we have to be patient. We have been working on finding alternative solutions in attack and now we saw the result. All players who came in pleased with their performances. The most important thing is that everyone feels that they can bring something to the team.”


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