Italy secured their spot in the semifinals of the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men's World Championship after defeating Czechia on Tuesday. With their second straight-set win in second round Pool E, the Italians are sure of joining the top four. Тhe last available spot in the semifinals will be decided on the last day of the second round, in a face-to-face duel between Czechia and Argentina, after the South Americans defeated Belgium 3-1.
Italy book spot in semis
Argentina take revenge against Belgium
Published 08:40, 28 Sep 2021
Thanks to three successful blocks (by Valentino Vidoni, Wilson Acosta and Manuel Armoa), Argentina started on the right foot in the first set. Armoa finished as the best scorer of the set, with six points to his name. Belgium reacted quickly in the next set, and with as many as six blocks (three by Samuel Fafchamps) tied the score. Having lost concentration for a moment, the South Americans responded in set three, using Vidoni and his 14 points as their main weapon. Argentina’s opposite hitter kept his level in the next set as well, and with as many as 20 points in total, including the match winner, was the top scorer of the match, together with Manuel Armoa who finished with the same number of points.
Overall, Belgium were better in blocking (nine stuffs to seven) and in serving (four aces to two by the South Americans). However, Argentina's more successful performance in attack (57 to 47) was crucial for the final score.
“Since the beginning, we felt that these two matches - today’s and tomorrow’s - are like our final. We approached the match like this, and I believe that we delivered our game. As per tomorrow’s match, we will enter the court with the same spirit - as if we were playing a final,” said Argentina captain and setter Pablo Urchevich.
Italy and Czechia locked horns in the second Pool E fixture of the day. The Czech Republic struggled with many errors, and Italy reached a six-point difference (22-16). Federico Crosato, with an ace, gave Italy the set win.
Italy did not face any problems in the second set, taking the lead and never looking back. A similar scenario unfolded in the last set as well, with Italy dominating completely. Tommaso Stefani was above all once again, with 12 points to his name.
“It is a really nice feeling that we are already qualified for the semis, but we still want to win our last match in the pool. We are not relaxed, we expect a good match against Belgium. We will focus on our game,” Leonardo Ferrato, setter of Italy, told Volleyball World.