Hiroshima, Japan, October 10, 2019 - Italy saw off a spirited challenge from Australia at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup on Thursday, powered to a 3-0 win by 20 points from Gabriele Nelli at Hiroshima Green Arena.
Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: “I am very happy with the result of today’s match. Australia is a team that we respect a lot. Earlier in the summer we played against them in the Olympic qualifying tournament and were able to beat them in five sets, winning the fifth set 15-13. They are a very good team, they don’t make many mistakes, and even if they do they have counter-measures to correct them. Today we were able to beat them 3-0, but in the second set there were very difficult situations. At the end of the first set we had a difficult spell, but we didn’t lose our confidence and continued to play. Although there were opportunities we were unable to capitalise upon, we didn’t lose hope and continued to progress, which I think was good. In the second set our service was sharp, and we played as a team, all of the team members responded well and played well. That is one of the purposes of this tournament for us; everyone playing as a team, everyone participating in the play, and everyone contributing to the team.”
Italy captain Matteo Piano: “I have another (Japanese) word for today; ‘zenshin’ (progress). It was so important, we spoke yesterday with the coach, that we had to continue to be focused and continue to think that we needed to play a really strong match and to win for our ranking. Today I’m so happy because we played like a good team. This is what I had hoped at the beginning of this competition. Australia were never turned off their game, and then we had to be focused, we had to accept that on the other side there was a team that wanted to fight.”
Australia coach Mark Lebedew: “From the beginning it was a tough situation for us, because we had to change the setter (Arshdeep Dosanjh) after the warm-up, which wasn’t something that we were expecting. You could see in the first set we had a lot of difficulty in attack to find a way to score. We served and blocked really well, we defended very well, Luke Perry had another great match. After that was better in attack - apart from the period in the second set - but some small things (like) how we attack in certain moments, how we defenced in certain moments, we do it well a lot of the time but we don’t do it well always, and this cost us three or four points right at the end of the set. Nothing big, but enough small things added together to make a difference.”
Australia captain Max Staples: “It was difficult with the change of setter. We had Ben Bell and I think he did a really good job today. He’s only been with the team for a little bit - he’s normally a school teacher, that’s why he’s a bit bigger now - but he did a good job today and except for the big lapse in the second set we played quite well and solved some problems with the block. But in the crucial moments again we fell down a little bit. Two of the sets we lost weren’t by a big margin, but it’s the small things in volleyball that matter.”
On what happened in the second set: “(Dick) Kooy went on a bit of a serving run. We had good passes still, but we were just unable to kill the ball when we had the opportunity. Then when we had our turn to give them the serve and try to make a couple of break points they were still effective in their side-out, that’s why it blew out to such a big deficit. In the first and third sets we controlled that better and sided-out better on our serves, we were able to find a point when we needed to.”