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Italy                                              Click here to download Team Profile in pdf format

The Italian women's Volleyball team heads into the 2003 World Cup on the back of a disappointing display at the 2003 World Grand Prix on their home turf.

Following their triumph at the 2002 World Championship, big things were expected from this entertaining side but all they could return was three wins from 10 matches.

Having often been the subject of comparison with their male counterparts, the Italian women's team finally won an international tournament in 2002, having lost the final of the European Championship to Russia in 2001. It was a memorable performance and had finally put them on the map of genuine international contenders.

But this year's World Grand Prix was a blip in the process of feeding on their World Championship success and now after receiving a wild card, the "Azzurre" have the opportunity to make amends.

This women's team, ranked sixth in the world, have all the qualities. The Most Valuable Player at the World Championship and one of Italy's tallest players Elisa Togut is on her way back with her 192cm frame set to cause havoc while the rest of the squad compliment each other with passion, drive and a sure-fire spirit which resembles the "Azzuri".

Volleyball is the most practiced women's sport in Italy and has received the backing of the national federation with over 100,000 registered players but it is only now that Italian women's volleyball is finally seeing the hard work bear fruit.

The 2003 World Cup can be another performance in which to measure their progress towards the 2004 Olympics.