The Italian volleyball players, led by their genius passer Simone Giannelli, ended sixteen years of famine by winning the European title, Sunday, September 19, in Katowice (Poland), after their victory against Slovenia at the end of the suspense.
Italy’s last title was in 2005 and the Euro won at home in Rome. Since then, the Transalpines had climbed to the final of the European Championships in 2011 and 2013, and the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio. Each time, they had bowed, but Sunday, for the seventh time, they placed Italy at the top of Europe at the end of the suspense (22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 15-11).
Ferdinando De Giorgi’s players had arrived on this Euro frustrated by their loss in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics against Argentina, as surprising as it was unexpected, and without their two aging stars Osmany Juantorena (36, retired) and Ivan Zaytsev (32 years old, operation).
The choice of youth
The coach had thus made the choice of the youth, around “The experienced” captain Simone Giannelli, 25, with nuggets like Alessandro Michieletto (19) and Daniele Lavia (21).
Italian revelation of the Games and the Euro, Michieletto was a little further back on Sunday in the Spodek Arena in Katowice, won for the cause of Slovenia.
On the other hand, Lavia was fused throughout the game with 21 points. It was he who restarted the meeting on a series of services in the middle of the fourth set.
Led 2 sets to 1, the Italians tried everything for everything while bringing Yuri Romano (24 years old) into the 4e round, a choice that paid off in the decisive tie-break, moment chosen by Michieletto to finally let go of his fiery left arm and three aces to put his teammates into orbit (11-7).
“I’m like a baby because I cried a lot. It was my dream to win a title with my selection ”, commented Giannelli after the final.
Third loss in a row in the final for the Slovenes
For the Slovenes, it is the third final of a European championship lost after the failures in 2015 against France and in 2019 against Serbia, in progress however since on their first attempt they had not won a single set. and that in 2019, they had taken one from the Serbs.
A small consolation for the Slovenes, whose feat against Poland, double reigning world champion (2014 and 2018), big favorite for the European coronation at home and finally third, unfortunately went unanswered.
Teammates Alen Pajenk and Tine Urnaut were deprived of the Tokyo Olympics by France in January 2020 in Berlin, after leading two heats to nothing and getting the best start in the third, and were counting on this European Championship to beautify their summer.
Sacred Olympic champions this summer, the French were eliminated in the round of 16 of this European Championship by the Czech Republic, at the end of an endless marathon of sixteen weeks and 31 matches between the League of Nations, the Olympics and the Euro.