Tokyo, Japan, September 22, 2015 – Italy held off a tough challenge from Argentina
to claim a 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 16-14) triumph in a thrilling match at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup Japan 2015 on Tuesday.
Osmany Juantorena was the star for Italy with 26 points, including three crucial aces at the start of the deciding set. It was Italy’s ninth win and keeps them in the hunt for a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Argentina’s chances however are all but over.
It was a tidy start for Argentina and they led by two going into the first technical timeout. They continued with good pace, holding the Italians back and refusing to allow them to have a run of points. A Facundo Conte block ended the set in his side’s favour.
Argentina struggled at the start of the second, with Italy finding their feet early. They pulled to within three at 12-9, but an Ivan Zaytsev block saw Italy side out as the continued to maintain control. A timeout on 22-17 failed to help Argentina before a nice set from Simone Giannelli helped Osmany Juantorena deliver a devastating spike.
Both sides struggled to break away in the third set, with the scores staying close at 10-all. But a Juantorena kill saw Italy move ahead as they grew in confidence. A Zaytsev tip over the net made it 2-1.
Argentina gained the edge early in the fourth, an ace from Luciano De Cecco taking the score to 7-2. Some efficient passing helped the world No.7 keep the lead and although Italy tried to mount a comeback, Argentina’s side out game allowed them to remain out of touch as a Zaytsev serving error took the match to a fifth set.
It was the perfect start in the decider for Italy with Juantorena belting two aces at Argentina prompting Julio Velasco to call for the timeout. But another incredible Juantorena ace put the Italians three up. But a block error saw Argentina put Italy on the back foot at 9-8. A superb Zornetta block edged Argentina closer to match point as the pressure started to build for Italy. They saved a match point before Pasquale served the most audacious of aces to give Italy their own chance at taking the game. Argentina failed to side out, with Giannelli putting up the block to give Italy the win.