Czechia and Italy proved better in their matches on the second day of play in Pool A of the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship. After seizing straight-set victories over Thailand and Egypt, respectively, they secured their spots among the best eight teams in the world. On Saturday, the two teams will face each other to determine who will finish on top of the final pool standings.
Italy and Czechia progress to second round's top tier
The two teams to clash for the first place in Pool A on Saturday
Published 07:49, 24 Sep 2021
Czechia didn’t show their best game in the beginning of the match, with only 33% success in attack. However, with an improved performance in blocking, the Czechs opened the game in their favour.
They continued dominating on the court in the second set. Jakub Klajmon and Matous Drahonovsky with two and one blocks, respectively, helped their team keep the high level at the net. Suradech Khamhom of Thailand, on the serve in the beginning of the third set, inspired his teammates to show an improvement in their performance, but Klajmon found Thailand’s weak spots with his sharp serves towards the end of the final set.
Drahonovsky and Petr Spulak finished as best scorers, recording 14 points each.
“We showed a really good performance on the serve throughout all three sets. In the first two sets, we were also performing really well in reception, blocking and defence. This was the key to the success today. Tomorrow we play against Italy. Of course, we want to win, but it will be much more difficult compared to our first matches here. We will try our best!” Spulak, middle blocker of Czechia, told Volleyball World.
Italy worked as a fine-tuned machine since the very beginning of the match, outperforming their opponents on all counts. Unstoppable in attack (10 winning spikes) in the first set, and led by captain Tommaso Rinaldi (five points), the Italians took the set lead. Egypt were not ready to give in easily and entered the second set much more concentrated. The hosts responded quickly, with Tommaso Stefani on the serve causing difficulties to Egypt’s reception, but it was not enough to stop the inspired Egyptians. Elsayed Abdelrahman and Abdelazim Ahmed gave their best in the next moments. However, the Italians showed mental strength in the deciding moments. Both sides fought hard in the beginning of the next set, delivering some long and exciting rallies, but Italy proved better.
Statistically, Italy showed a better game in all the components. Tommaso Stefani topped the charts with 16 points to his name.
“It was a nice victory for us. We started very well in the first set. Maybe because of this, we got relaxed in the second, and they were able to push us to the wall in some moments. Tomorrow we play Czechia. It will be another tough match. We haven’t played this opponent for such a long time, so we don’t know how they play,” Tommaso Stefani, opposite of Italy, told Volleyball World.