VNL: Italy struggles but China is stronger

Italy started with the tactical configuration adopted in the first two matches with Turkey and Belgium: Malinov in the direction, Perinelli and Degradi as spikers, Chirichella and Bonifacio in the center, Nwakalor opposite and De Gennaro free. The blues have contracted games while China with its imposing wall has managed to dirty almost every Italian attack. Li, Jin and Wang the protagonists of the Chinese start while for Italy Degradi took care of keeping Italy close (6-8). Despite two excellent calls to Mazzanti’s video check, China, dragged by an excellent Jin, ran away (10-14). The good offensive contribution of Alice Degradi and some flashes of Nwakalor were not enough for Italy to keep up with Wang, Gong and Li, protagonists of the break that allowed China to close the first set ahead (13-25).

In the second set, Italy started much better: Bonifacio in the center and two plays above the Nwakalor wall (one at 3.04 in height) launched the blues at 4-2. The usual Jin brought back the Chinese first in contact and then overtaking only to collect the blue reaction signed by Degradi, Perinelli and Malinov (12-11). Italy kept pace by not giving in to Li’s plays and, clinging to a couple of bailouts in defense of Monica De Gennaro, they went ahead also thanks to Lubian’s entry into the service (21-17). It is the right spark that allowed the blue to launch the last assault on the set with 3 powerful attacks by Nwakalor (25-20).

The third set also started in the name of Italy. Malinov guessed a couple of subnet reads as Degradi and Nwakalor responded point by point to Wang and Li by chasing China at 9-6. However, the reaction of the Asians was not long in coming: Gong and Wang brought China back (10-11) by opening the most closely contested phase of the match. The blue did not give up (14-15) even when Gong put down the 21-18 ball. Degradi (mani out) and Lubian’s service put Italy back on track (21-21). China, however, had the merit of placing the right shot at the right time (two consecutive blocks) finding with Li the mani out that closed the third set (22-25).

Italy did not suffer the psychological backlash and continued to play by extending every exchange to China. In attack it was Bonifacio, Degradi and Nwakalor well orchestrated by Malinov who kept Italy ahead of the technical timeout (12-11). The equilibrium was broken when two mistakes (Nwakalor and Lubian) put a 3-point gap between Italy and China (15-18). Mazzanti tried to change diagonal by sending Bosio and Enweonwu to the field for Malinov and Nwakalor but the inertia remained in the hands of the Chinese (21-16) who then closed the accounts with Li (18-25).


Davide Mazzanti (Italy Manager) – «We reacted well after the first set lost in a clear manner – declared the Italian coach – after we started playing as we had prepared. Unfortunately we made too many mistakes which ultimately cost us dearly. Too bad, because we made a China that for a long time played a very beautiful and spectacular volleyball. We knew they were strong but at the same time with a little more precision we could have our say. However, I am very proud of what this group of girls did, and I repeat, they followed the game plan to the letter. Mistakes cost us the match. We close this first week of VNL growing and with enthusiasm. We suffered against Turkey, played better and won with Belgium and won playing well with Holland. With China it was complex but we held the field very well. Let’s go back to Italy aware that we still have a lot of work to do and that we can play it with everyone. The group is solid and we know we must and can still do a lot ».

Sara Bonifacio (Italy) – «We have only one regret: that of having made too many mistakes but otherwise we remained in matches, managing to put this China in difficulty, which we knew was a very strong and well-established team. We, on the other hand, had little time to mix and find the right distances and therefore this first stage of VNL was very important because it allowed us to play, make mistakes but also win two games ».

Marina Lubian (Italy) – « At times we played very well – said Marina Lubian – China plays volleyball very fast and at the same time physical. It wasn’t easy to play against this team and we did it well apart from the first set and the fourth quarter final. Of course, we made a lot of mistakes and were in a hurry in certain break phases, giving points to the opponents, but it is also true that this first stage of VNL served to break us in having played very little together. We have a great desire to work and improve because we are sure we can do much better ».


ITALY – CHINA 1-3 (13-25; 25-20; 22-25; 18-25)

ITALY: Degradi 22, Bonifacio 10, Nwakalor 19, Perinelli 6, Chirichella 4, Malinov 4, De Gennaro (Libero), Fersino, Enweonwu, Lubian 2, Bosio. Ne: D’Odorico and Gennari. Herds Mazzanti

CHINA: Diao 1, Jin 5, Wang Y. 7, Gong 15, Li 20, Yuan 11, Wang Yu. (Free), Ding. 2, Wang W .. Ne .: Miao, Feifan, Zheng, Wang Yi, Yang. Att. Cai

Referees: Porvaznik (Svk) and Heckford (Eng)

Duration: 21 ‘, 23’, 27 ‘,

Spectators: 2300

Italy: a 4, bs 11, m 3, et 18.

China: a 5, bs 5, m 13, et 5.


First day

Thailand 3-0 Bulgaria (25-20; 25-22; 25-20)

Turkey – Italy 3-0 (25-20; 25-19; 25-19)

Second day

Belgium – Serbia 1-3 (25-14; 16-25; 17-25; 22-25)

China 3-1 Netherlands (16-25; 25-22; 25-23; 25-23)

Third day

Thailand 3-2 Serbia (25-23; 25-27; 25-20; 20-25; 15-12)

Bulgaria – Netherlands 3-2 (25-15; 12-25; 19-25; 25-15; 15-7)

Belgium – Italy 3-1 (25-21; 19-25; 23-25; 20-25)

Fourth day

Serbia 3-0 Bulgaria (26-24; 25-15; 26-24)

Italy – Netherlands 3-0 (25-19; 25-15; 25-15)

Turkey – China 1-3 (16-25; 25-20; 16-25; 22-25)

Fifth day

Thailand – Belgium 2-3 (22-25; 25-18; 25-23; 21-25; 13-15)

Italy – China 1-3 (13-25; 25-20; 22-25; 18-25; 18-25)

Bulgaria – Turkey (to be played)


First day

Germany – Brazil 1-3 (27-29; 25-23; 25-27; 21-25)

USA – Dominican Rep. 3-0 (25-21; 25-17; 25-18)

Second day

Poland 3-1 Canada (20-25; 25-22; 25-23; 25-20)

South Korea 0-3 Japan (17-25; 16-25; 11-25)

Third day

Brazil 3-0 Poland (25-23; 25-21; 25-22)

Germany – Japan 2-3 (27-25; 25-23; 20-25; 22-25; 12-15)

Canada – Dominican Rep. 3-0 (25-18; 25-15; 25-18)

Fourth day

Germany 3-0 South Korea (25-22; 25-15; 25-16)

Dominican Rep. – Brazil 1-3 (9-25; 25-16; 18-25; 17-25)

USA – Canada 3-0 (25-14; 25-22; 25-19)

Fifth day

South Korea – Poland (to be played)

Dominican Rep. – Japan (to be played)

USA – Brazil (to be played)


Brazil 9 pt, China 9 pt, Serbia 7 pt, USA 6 pt, Thailand 6 pt, Italy 6 pt, Japan 5 pt, Germany 4 pt, Turkey 3 pt, Poland 3 pt, Canada 3 pt, Belgium 2 pt, Bulgaria 2 pt, Netherlands 1 pt, Rep. Sunday 0 pt, South Korea 0 pt.


Week 1 (Ankara, Turkey)

June 5: Serbia – Holland at 12:00

June 5: Thailand – China at 15:00

June 5: Turkey – Belgium at 18:00

* Italian times

#VNL #Italy #struggles #China #stronger

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