Italy beat Russia in four to thrill sellout crowd


Milan, Italy, October 10, 2014 - Host Italy overpowered reigning champions Russia 3-1 (25-12, 25-17, 12-25, 25-23), sending the 13,000 fans into a frenzy at Mediolanum Forum in Milan. The hosts had already secured the pole position of Pool G after winning the first set and had knocked out the defending champions after winning the second.

Key facts:

• The hosts have improved their record to 2-0 in the third round and are now 10-1 overall in this World Championship, only falling to Dominican Republic. The only time Italy won nine matches in a single edition was in 2002 when they won the title.

• This was Russia's fith defeat in 11 matches. It is Russia's worst finish since the Soviet Union ranked sixth in 1986.

• Italy were winless in their World Championship matches against Russia. Russia beat Italy three times in straight sets (1986, 1994 and 2006) and once in five sets (2002). 

Tonight's  top scorer for Italy was Valentiana Diouf with 13 kills and for Russia Tatiana Kosheleva with 15 points.

In front of their fantastic home crowd, Italy started ahead reaching the first TTO at 8-6. Russia was not able to contain the attacks of Antonella Del Core and Nadia Centoni (best scorer of the first part of the match), allowing Italy to increase the gap to 16-8 at the second technical break. Russia crumbled under Italy’s blows and Nadia Centoni - again unstoppable – closed the set 25–12.

Italy, still on fire at the start of the second set, reached the first TTO 8–5 ahead. Russia coach Yury Marichev called his ladies off court at 11-6 in an attempt to break Italy’s momentum – but he did not succeed. Russia remained absent from the court up to the second TTO 10–16 with the “Azzurre” rapidly moving forward. Marichev made several substitutions – however - Italy, supported by the cheers of their home crowd, ended the set 25–17 with a Valentina Diouf spike. 

With the first place in Pool G secured, and with the matter of USA and Russia for the second place sorted, Italy coach Marco Bonitta gave court time to his subs and Russia quickly took advantage in the third set. Nataliya Goncharova pushed her teammates forward to take a comfortable lead at 16-7. The Russians never looked back until 25-12. 

Italy’s second line up gained momentum in the middle of the fourth set with Christina Chirichella and Caterina Bosetti firing wild to force Russia coach Yury Marichev into another timeout. Goncharova answered with several blistering winners to turn the tables at 16-15. However, it was not good enough. Italy kept the upper hand in the deciding moments of the fourth set, electrifying the audience for the last time on Friday evening. Kosheleva sent the ball long to make it 25-23 and 3-1 for the hosts. 


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