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24/03/17
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Italy loses 2-3 against France but claims Pool C

The final match in the „Olympiahalle Innsbruck“ brought the first five set match in Pool C. France fighted back in the game and caught up a 0-2 residue.

franartThere was one thing that ran like a thread through the first two sets between Italy and France. France led both times (18-14, 13-9), but couldn’t manage to take the set (26-28, 22-25).

France started aggressively and put themselves in a very comfortable situation (12-7), when Italy came up for the first time in the game. Luigi Mastrangelo and Dragan Travica (5:0 mini-break) hammered a series of services into France’s court and inverted the score (19:18).France equalized again but couldn’t prevent Italy from winning the first set (28:26).

Same picture in the next set. Brilliant start of France (13-9), followed by several consecutive points of Italy (16-15). In the end of the set France’s outside hitters not even failed to convert 1:1-situations, but were in fact blocked three times. Italy didn’t hesitate and took the second set.

 As France was again leading in the third set, everybody was waiting for a further comeback of Italy. But this time France stayed focussed and captured the set (25-17). With this lift, France continued to dominate the game and didn’t struggle to win the fourth set. Despite the decision over the final standings in Pool C had already being settled (1.Italy, 2. France, 3. FIN), the outcome of the match was now a matter of prestige for both teams.

 According to expectations France set the pace again and finally acquired three match balls (14-11). Italy’s Emanuelle Birarelli concluded the last game in the „Olympiahalle Innsbruck“ after 135 minutes, as his attack landed outside the court.

 Earvin Ngapeth top-scored for France (19), followed by José Trefle (15). Michal Lasko was Italy’s leading scorer (21).

 French Coach Philipp Blain highlighted his team’s advance to the playoff matches in Vienna. “In the end, for us this was the most important thing. I know that we had the chance to win Pool C, that makes me a little dissapointed. Now we have to prepare well for the next match against Turkey.”

 Mauro Berruto, Coach of Italy, was proud of his team. “Our first target was to claim Pool C. But we still need to improve. Especially in the first phase of almost every set, we had large problems.”

 Michal Lasko said, that his team cannot be happy with the performance in the game. „The way we played that last three sets was really dissapointing.“