Hiroshima, Japan, September 8, 2015 – Italy began their FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup campaign with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25- ) win over Canada in a mixed performance from the side despite solid performances from Ivan Zaytsev and Osmany Juantorena.
Zaytsev topped the score list with a 20-point haul while Juantorena claimed the most impressive player award. Canada’s Gavin Schmitt and Nicholas Hoag both scored 15 points for their country.
The world No.4 took the opening two sets with relative ease, but complacency slipped into their game in the third. However, they recovered to take three vital points on the opening day of the tournament.
Italy began strong, registering a three point lead which they maintained through to the first technical timeout. An injury to Graham Vigrass only hampered the Canadians as Italy extended their lead to 12-7. A serving error from John Perrin gifted the European side the opening set 25-19.
The Canadians did not give their European rivals such an easy start in the second, drawing level at 8-8 before taking the lead for the first time in the match at 11-10. It remained close through to the second technical time out, but Italy, who won the tournament 20 years ago at the 1995 edition, took control once again with a powerful Ivan Zaytsev serve winning the set 25-20.
The roles were reversed in the third, with Canada starting strong, taking a three point lead at 11-8. Italy narrowed the gap, but it was Canada who went into the second technical timeout ahead. Italy had a quick recovery, but Canada held on to take the match to a fourth set 25-22.
Coach Lorenzo Blengini’s team talk had an impact on Italy and they found themselves six points ahead at 12-6 in the fourth. They maintained the lead to clinch the set 25-13 and the match.