Europe has a new ruler in volleyball: Italy.
A new young national team won the seventh European Championship title. In the final of the CEV EuroVolley 2021, in Katowice, Poland, the rejuvenated Italy triumphed over Slovenia after coming back to the match twice: 3-2 (22:25, 25:20, 20:25, 25:20, 15:11).
Thus Italy returned to the throne in the Old Continent after 16 years, while Slovenia lost the third final in the last four European Championships!
Given that the Italy Women took the European title as well, two weeks ago, this year will be remembered as historic for volleyball in the country as something like that has never happened before.
It is a deserved award for a new generation of the new champions of Europe, which came already in the first competition after Juantorena’s retirement, and without Zaytsev (injury) and absences of Vettori, Colaci and several more well-known names from recent years.
In any case, the work of new head coach Ferdinando De Giorgi bore fruits right after taking over the command of the team as Italy finished the tournament undefeated (9-0) for the first time in history. Not only it had 1-0 and 2-1 in sets, but Slovenia missed a huge opportunity to finish off rival in the tie-break after taking a 4-0 lead!
The 21-year-old Daniele Lavia and 19-year-old Alessandro Michieletto were Italy’s most prolific players in the final, scoring 21 (7 only in second set!) and 17 points, respectively.
De Giorgi also gave the chance in the last two sets to the player who never spent a single minute in the national championship SuperLega, Yuri Romanò.
Alen Pajenk tallied 16 points, 64% in attack, and four blocks, on the other side of the net, while Tonček Stern and Klemen Cebulj added 14 points each, but with only 32% and 31% in attack, respectively.
During the medal ceremony, the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) announced the MVP of the tournament: the Italy National Team captain Simone Giannelli.
Daniele Lavia, outside hitter of Italy: “I think that this win was incredible. This group, this team is really great and we showed it on the court. The key to this victory were our hearts. We also served well and in general we played good. I really don’t know what to say, I’m just really happy.”
Tine Urnaut, captain of Slovenia: “We spent a lot of energy to beat Poland, we played amazing yesterday, today we played great in some moments, but sometimes we gave too easy points. All changed when their second opposite came in and played awesome. We didn’t use the opportunity to lead in the 5th set 4-0 and they reopened the game. Italy played the best through the whole tournament. Before EuroVolley I think we didn’t believe that we could go to the final, therefore we are happy about the medal, but losing the final is difficult.”
FINAL 4 @ KATOWICE
BRONZE MEDAL MATCH | September 19, 2021
GOLD MEDAL MATCH | September 19, 2021
• Slovenia – Italy 2-3 (25:22, 20:25, 25:20, 20:25, 11:15)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH