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14 July 2019 | in Volleyball

Italy win men's Volleyball on home soil

NAPOLI, 13 July – After 49 years of waiting, Italy finally won the men’s volleyball gold medal, on home soil yet again. The last time Italy had won gold in the event was at Turin 1970. In front of a passionate home crowd, Italy beat Poland 3-2 (16-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10) in a nail biting final at the PalaSele in Eboli. In the bronze medal match, Universiade powerhouse Russia beat France in straight sets.

 The expectations had been high from both, the men’s and women’s teams of one of the most popular sports here. Italy’s women’s team had won silver the previous day, and the men went one better to delight Italian fans.

 

Even though Poland started the match in top gear and won the first set 25-16, some brilliant offence and defence from Italy saw them bounce back in the second set (25-20) and level it at 1-1.

 

The third and fourth sets were full of tension and drama. Both were very close and in the fourth set, Poland were within touching distance with a match point. The missed opportunity from Poland took the match into a decider, which is played to 15 points.

 

It went down to the wire, with Italy coming through 15-10 and winning the gold medal on home soil.

 

“We deserved the medal!” exclaimed Francesco Zoppellari from team Italy. “It was not easy to fight against a great team like Poland. We achieved this precious goal with the support of all the spectators.”

 

The bronze medal match was played out between Russia and France. During 60 years of the Universiade, Russia has had a strong tradition in men’s volleyball – they have won three gold and one silver since 2011. This time, they beat France 3-0 (25-18, 25-20 and 25-22) to take home a bronze medal.

Russia took control of the first set thanks to some superb blocking skills and even though France had a good start at the beginning of the second set, it didn’t change their fortunes.

 

“When Russia plays, they always aim to be at the top,” said Russian coach Aleksey Verbov. “The bronze medal is a good result for us in this competition, but we can do better in future.”

 

Results: Men’s volleyball

Gold: Italy

Silver: Poland

Bronze: Russia

 

Women’s volleyball

Gold: Russia

Silver: Italy

Bronze: Japan