Italy closer to a place in the semifinals with second victory at Arena Armeec
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification
Sofia, Bulgaria, May 10, 2012. Italy is only a point away from the semifinals of the 2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification for men in Bulgaria. The team of head coach Mauro Berruto managed a second victory in this tournament as it shut out an already qualified Germany by 3:0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-22). To absolutely secure its place among the best four teams, Italy needs to win at least two sets against Slovakia on Friday.
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Italy topped the score throughout the first set. Its more efficient attacking compensated for Germany’s more successful serving. Dragan Travica spread out nicely the Italian offense as Michal Lasko, Ivan Zaytsev and Simone Parodi continued scoring point after point. Germany managed to make the set’s ending more dramatic by narrowing its lag down to only a point at 19-20, but after 22-23, two points in a row for the Italians finished it off in their favor.
Germany fought hard to keep control of the second set and with great performances by setter Simon Tischer and opposite György Grozer was able to do so through 18-17. After that, however, Italy managed to stay more focused as perfect play by Luigi Mastrangelo led the team to a 25-21 victory in this set.
The third set was the most interesting of the match with many ups and downs for both teams. Germany once again displayed some great serving skills, combined with improved blocking, but in the end it was the powerful serves of Ivan Zaytsev followed by some errors in the German attacks, trying to overcome the opponent’s block, that brought the score from 19-22 to 25-22 in Italy’s favor.
György Grozer was the best scorer of the match as he marked 18 points (5 aces) for Germany against his name. With 12 points, Michal Lasko was the top scorer of the winning team.
“At some points, we were so close to the victory, but we did not find the right way to close the second and the third set,” Björn Andrae, captain of Germany, said. ”Everybody tried to do their best, I hope we made a pleasant match for the fans.” His Italian counterpart Cristian Savani added: “Winning against such a quality team like Germany makes us very happy. Our opponent is showing great shape in this tournament and it was important to get these three points. I hope we will continue to improve step by step and match by match until the end of the week.”
Vital Heynen, head coach of Germany, paid back the compliments: “I want to pay my respect to the Italian team, who was better today. We were pushing and trying all the time, but we could not finish positively any of the sets. I hope that our teams will meet again on Sunday.” “We are happy because these three points take us closer to our target - the semifinal,” Italian mentor Mauro Berruto stated. ”We played more consistently and with much more power on serve and attack."