Italy did their job right on the last day of action in Pool A of the first round of FIVB Men's U21 World Championship 2021. On Saturday, the players of head coach Angiolino Frigoni secured the first place in the group, after beating the team of Czechia in straight sets. Earlier that day, Thailand celebrated for a first time in the competition, after winning over Egypt.
Impeccable Italy shut out Czechia in Pool A
Thailand disappoint Egypt
Published 08:01, 25 Sep 2021
Thailand recorded their first victory at the U21 World Championship, disappointing Egypt, and leaving them in the fourth place in Pool A. Crucial for the final victory was the successful blocking in deciding moments of the fourth set by the players of Monchai Supajirakul. Statistically, the Egyptian team was better in attack (54 points to 43) and in blocking (12 to nine). However, Thailand’s slightly better performance in serving and the unforced errors by Egypt turned out to be crucial for the final outcome. Egypt’s captain and opposite hitter Eissa Abdelrahman Elhossiny was above all in the match, hammering as many as 28 points.
With Mohamed Elwan on the serving line in the beginning of the match, Egypt stormed out to a 5-0 lead. The players of Mostafa Hany did not lose their rhythm and opened in their favour. Thailand responded with improved performance in attacking, and fighting for each ball, led by captain Donlakkham Sutthiphing, the Asian team won their first set at the 2021 Worlds. Egypt struggled in the next set and, with way too many errors, let Thailand enjoy the game, taking the set lead. Although it seemed that Egypt would be able to bring the match into a tie-breaker, the players around head coach Monchai Supajirakul amazed in blocking in the fourth set, coming back after being seven points behind and tying the score at 21-21. Egypt couldn’t resist the pressure, while Thailand recorded their first victory.
“It was our goal to win a match in the first round, and we are really happy to have accomplished it! We played as a team, we played with fun, without stress. Finally, I want to thank to all the supporters here in the hall in Cagliari and the ones watching us online - they really gave us the strength to fight,” Donlakkham Sutthiphong, opposite and captain of Thailand, told Volleyball World.
Supported by their loyal fans at Pala Pirastu in Cagliari, Italy shut out the Czech Republic on Saturday. Excited, the supporters of the home team welcomed the rising star of Italian volleyball, Alessandro Michieletto, who was crowned champion of Europe with the senior team just a few days ago. Michieletto, however, was given some more time to rest, and didn’t play among the starters.
It was a close call only in the beginning of the match, but with the first set unfolding, the hosts took control of the action, finishing better in attacking (seven to four). Tommaso & Tomasso (Rinaldi and Stefani) showed again their class, and by the end of the second set were topping the charts with 12 and 10 points respectively, while the whole Italian team had a 67% efficiency in attack. Czechia tried to come back in the third set, breathing down their opponents’ necks, but Italy did not allow any surprises, closing the match in three sets.
Rinaldi and Stefani finished as top scorers with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Lukas Ceketa tallied seven for Czechia.
“It was great to see the full house of fans supporting us! We had so much fun! We started very well in the match, as in the other games, and this is what always helps us. Now, we are looking forward to the next matches, but I don’t expect anything different. We will study the other teams, and I know that we will always give 100%,” said Tommaso Rinaldi, opposite hitter and captain of Italy.