Serbia Edge Past Italy 3-2
Serbia beat Italy 3-2 (25-19, 25-18, 19-25, 22-25, 17-15) on Sunday, winning their first World League 2016 out of three in Tehran.
Italy and Serbia (including Serbia and Montenegro) had previously met 29 times in the World League. Italy have won 13 times. Serbia have won on 16 occasions but it was Italy who won the last meeting 3-2 on 15 July 2015.
Emanuele Birarelli, captain, Italy: In the first two sets, we suffered a lack of energy and Serbia played very well. But in the third and fourth sets we played better. We finally lost the fifth set but qualified for the Final Six which we are satisfied with.
Dragan Stankovic, captain, Serbia: We know Italy very well. We tried to be better and concentrate more than yesterday. We had a good approach over this game started the match in a good way. In the second part of the game they were much better in defence and they even could have won the game, but we gave our best to go to the Final Six with a victory. We did not want to go to Poland with three losses.
Lorenzo Belgini, head coach, Italy: For sure, we are not satisfied with the result, but I think we played two different matches. We did not have good performance in the first part; we were not able to show our volleyball while Serbia had a good approach with 2-0. I think the most important thing is that we changed the situation and started a new match playing point for point. At the end, we lost the match and congratulations to Serbia.
Nikola Grbic, head coach, Serbia: Well, we got much better approach in this game and were better than yesterday. I told my guys before the match, let’s do our best today to prove ourselves that yesterday was just a bad day. So we played better in the first two sets. Then Italy made some changes and started to play with more energy. It is not like we stopped playing. I am very satisfied that we managed to win. It is now good for us to go to Poland for the Final Six with a victory.