Varna, Bulgaria, June 15, 2019 – Italy defeated Australia in Varna on Saturday in the 2019 men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Australia – Italy (June 15, 2019)
• Italy have won 16 of their 18 major world level matches against Australia (FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup).
• Australia's victories over Italy came at the 2015 World League (3-0) and at last year's VNL (3-1).
• Thomas Hodges won a match-high 20 points in Australia's 3-1 win at the 2018 VNL.
• Australia have suffered 11 straight-set defeats against Italy at world level, at least three more than against any other opponents.
• The team that won the first set went on to claim the victory in each of the last 10 world level encounters between Australia and Italy.
• Australia have lost six matches in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League, only beating Germany 3-0 in the sixth matchround.
• Lincoln Alexander Williams (73) is Australia's leading points scorer in the 2019 VNL, two points ahead of Luke Smith (71).
• Luke Smith is Australia's leading attacker with a 53% efficiency (58 spike points in 109 attempts).
• Five Australian players reached double figures in scoring in the 3-2 defeat against Bulgaria on Friday, with Luke Smith (19 points) leading the way.
• Italy have won five matches after seven matchrounds in the 2019 VNL. At this stage last year, they had four victories.
• Gabriele Nelli scored 24 points against Japan on Friday, double the amount of any other Italian player (Simone Anzani 12).
• Nelli is now on 130 total points, Italy's second-highest scorer is Oleg Antonov on 60 points.
Bulgaria – Japan (June 15, 2019)
• Bulgaria have won 21 of their 31 major world level meetings with Japan (FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup).
• Bulgaria won only two of their first nine encounters with Japan (1962-1974), before winning 19 of their last 22 (1994-2018).
• Japan's last world level victory over Bulgaria came at the 2011 World League (3-2).
• Bulgaria defeated Japan in straight sets at last year's VNL. Nikolay Uchikov won a match-high 19 points.
• Bulgaria won three of their seven matches in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League, the same record as they had in the 2018 edition at thi point (lost their eighth match 3-1 against Italy).
• Bulgaria won two of their three VNL matches in Varna last year. They started with a 3-2 win over Australia this time around.
• Bulgaria have won back-to-back VNL matches for the third time. They have never won three matches in a row in the competition.
• In the absence of Bulgaria's 2019 VNL team top scorer Nikolay Uchikov (84), Todor Skrimov was Bulgaria's top scorer against Australia with 22 points.
• Japan have a 2-5 record after seven matchrounds in the 2019 VNL. Last year they won three of their first eight matches.
• Japan could lose four straight VNL matchs for the first time.
• Yuki Ishikawa (14) and Issei Otake (12) were the only players scoring at least 10 points against Italy on Friday.
• Ishikawa is three points shy (97) of scoring 100 points in the 2019 VNL.
• Yuji Nishida has an average of 53% success in attacks. He is the only Japanese player have a 50+% percentage.
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