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15/09/2011 17:58
Italy claims spot for semifinals after edging tired Finns
2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men

Vienna, Austria, September 15, 2011. The “Suomi” seemed to suffer from their short relaxation time and needed two sets to get rid of their tiredness from yesterday’s Playoff match against Slovenia. In the end, one claimed set was the maximum for Finland this afternoon against the Italians mentored by their former head coach Mauro Berruto.

Finland's prayers went unanswered in the first set – Italy got over their usual troubles in the opening section of all matches and started without any problems. So Finland wanted to prove at any cost that they had recovered from yesterday’s five-set thriller against Slovenia. Especially in the big points Italy had the better end and therefore they took an early lead (14:11). Later in the set Italy made no move to fall back and eventually extended their distance to Finland (20:13). At this time Finnish head coach Daniel Castellani started changing his line-up, but there was no positive outcome resulting from this decision (18-25). In the second set Finland’s starting line-up included three new players – just the Oivanen-twins and mastermind Mikko Esko stayed on court. Also risk on service was increased by the Finns. Till the second technical time-out (16:15) it seemed to pay off before Italy increased the pace. Immediately the “Azzurri” pulled away (21:16) and like in the first set Italy left no doubts on their win and sealed the deal (25-20) “All or nothing” was Finland’s motto in the third set. While Italy seemed to get too confident, Finland succeeded in mobilizing their last reserves (11:6). Italian captain Cristian Savani even earned a yellow card (12:6) after not respecting a referee’s call. But this action galvanized his teammates and brought Italy back on track (9:12). As the set continued Italy came closer and closer (17:18) and finally balanced the score (21:21). Italy’s first lead was equivalent to their first match ball (24:23) but the Finnish players fought back and prevented Italy’s victory four times before they converted their third opportunity (31-29). Finland seemed to have overcome their tiredness in the start of the fourth set, when they suffered another setback (8:12). Despite the great efforts of the “Suomi”, Italy didn’t let Finland move up and converted its fifth match ball to qualify for the semifinals (25-21). Italy’s captain Cristian Savani contributed 22 points to his team’s win while Mikko Oivanen was once again the top scorer for Finland (17). Italy’s coach Mauro Berruto out-spoke his respect for Finland’s performance. “We have to be honest – the schedule was an obvious advantage for us. But they played really good, so we had to fight hard. After we lost the third set, we mentally overcame the situation very well”.   Finnish coach Daniel Castellani didn’t want to complain about the schedule and gave some other reasons for his team’s defeat. “In my opinion Italy’s has better abilities in serving and blocking. Moreover, they are able to convert their counter attacks more efficiently”.   Cristian Savani said that his team had started the match with a high level of concentration. “We were really focused and I think that made it easier for us. This time we didn’t have to run after a residue. Still it wasn’t an easy match for us”.

News nr. 7 of 36
15/09/2011 21:07:55
Serbia goes for big match with Russia in semis of EuroVolley 2011!
15/09/2011 17:37:29
Russia joins the top four in Vienna

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