FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Italy captain Emanuele Birarelli: We made less mistakes than Russia, that was key

Dragan Travica was player of the match for Italy in the win over Russia

Kyoto, Japan, November 19, 2013 - The first match of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup saw Italy take down European rival Russia 3–1 in a tough four set match at Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium. Italy’s captain was extremely pleased with his side, noting that they made less mistakes in this match, and that’s what made the difference. Italy will face Iran on Wednesday, while Russia will take on host team Japan.

Italy captain Emanuele Birarelli: I’m really proud of my team. We deserve this victory against the European champions, a great team like Russia. We had some new players on this team, our wing spikers are young. I’m really happy that we could get this great victory for them. We had good spiking, and made less mistakes than Russia, and that was the key to this victory. We know it was a strange match, the first match of this tournament. But we played in the right way and I’m happy.

Italy coach Mauro Berruto: Of course it is always a great challenge to play the Olympic and European champions. We had the right attitude from the beginning of the match. We played with half of our starting six new, in Lanza, Piano and Kovar. I’m very proud of these three players especially, and we challenged Russia with good volleyball. Our side out was really efficient. For some moments they pressured better than us with their service, but I’m proud that we could play good volleyball and win the match.

What was good about Filippo Lanza’s play?: Almost everything. He was efficient in reception, and side-out attack. He is the kind of player that I love because he always plays with a great attitude. He deserved this chance, and [capitalized] on it in the best way possible.

Russia captain Sergey Makarov: Congrats to the Italian team. We had many service mistakes, and our blocking wasn’t really working well. But we’ll be trying our best from tomorrow.

Russia coach Andrey Voronkov: Today we made many service mistakes, and there were many chances we couldn’t capitalize. I think the most important thing was not that we lost, but that we know where we made mistakes and what we need to improve.

On facing Japan tomorrow: I think Japan’s defense is very strong, and they play passionately. Even though we lost today, we’ll put forth our best effort tomorrow.

On why he used Maxim Mikhaylov sparingly: He is in the recovery process, and if he gets better, then we can use him.

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