Hiroshima, Japan, October 11, 2019 - Russia recovered from a set behind to seal an impressive 3-1 win over Italy at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup on Friday, Fedor Voronkov top scoring with 15 points at Hiroshima Green Arena.
Russia coach Tuomas Sammelvuo: “I’m very happy with the victory after a very difficult start, and of course we were also searching for our confidence after some lost games. Today at the beginning of the game Italy came in very focused, very concentrated, and almost every ball they hit went down and we just couldn’t stop them. Even if we served well, for high balls we didn’t play well, for sure. But then, I totally agree with what (Italy) coach (Gianlorenzo) Blengini said, in the first half of the second set there were a few balls that can sometimes change the game. They had the ball to hit to the floor with no block and it went out, and maybe we saw that we had our chance. Then the new guys came in and brought some new energy. I think most of all we started to play defence - dig some balls and it always gives spirit, spirit and energy for the team - so I’m happy for that. Happy for the guys who came in, and also gave their contribution for the game.”
Russia captain Sergey Grankin: “My impression of this match is that for us this is a win that finally arrived. In the first set we had difficulties, but then we made some changes in personnel and these substitutes showed some amazing play and we were able to win. This was a really good match for us.”
Russia player Ivan Iakovlev: “I would like to thank all of my teammates. The first set was a ‘dry’ one, if I can describe it that way - a ‘spiritless’ set - but from there we were able to come back and play as a team and win. So this win brings a lot of joy to me.”
Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: “First of all, congratulations to Russia for their win. The result was a disappointing one for us because we had chances but we couldn’t utilise or capture them. Especially in the second set, fortune was in our favour but we couldn’t capitalise upon it. At the beginning of the third set we were still suffering from what happened at the end of the second set, and a bit of a difficult situation continued throughout the third set. In the fourth set Russia totally outdid us and were fighting with confidence, so we began to see the outcome of the mach halfway through the fourth set. It was an especially difficult match for us because we had difficulty in our reception. During the match we tried to make adjustments and efforts to disrupt the opponent more, and to some extent these efforts worked, which was one good thing.”
Italy captain Matteo Piano: “I think today was an opportunity for us because we were playing against one of the strongest teams at this World Cup. We had the focus when we started the match, but we didn’t work so well to stay there. We knew that Russia could put pressure on us, and when this happened we could have done better in some situations. For example, in strange situations - not normal situations like reception and serve and spike, when we went out of our comfort zone - we lost a little bit in this match. We played against a team that (lost) the first set but then began a new match from the second set and were able to claim the victory.”