De Giorgi’s youngsters dominate the Slovenians in the remake of last year’s European final and return to fight for world gold 24 years after the last time
Raise your hand if you would have imagined, after the Nations League finals in Bologna, but also only two weeks ago, that, despite the European champion chevrons on the shoulder pads, Italy would climb up to the world final. Instead, he beats Slovenia 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-21) in the semifinals and on Sunday evening (at 21, live on Rai 1 and Sky Sport), against Poland, I will try to take back a gold that has been missing for 24 yearswhen the coach Fef De Giorgi put it around his neck for the third time in a row.
Group too easy and not very training, it was said: the blues dominated it without leaving even the crumbs on the street. Cuba too boastful, they said: Italy did not dominate it, but neither did their physical excessive power suffer. And he won, which is the only thing that really matters. With France an almost insurmountable mountain, it was said: Roman (starter in the national team but not yet, for a few weeks, in the clubs) and teammates faced it with patience, they knew how to collect their exuberant class when it was irrepressible and they sank the blow with interest whenever they have had the opportunity. Then Slovenia, tonight, in the encore of the European final a year ago. In front of the 9 thousand of the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland, Italy wears the most beautiful dress and takes home the semifinal with the air of a great team.
The Polish hosts had reversed the semifinals out of time to play earlier and have a few more hours of rest. The Azzurri do not let themselves be distracted by the outline (the match also starts 20 minutes late because Poland-Brazil, first, ended at the tie break and long first leg), they do what they have to and do not just win, they dominate the Slovenia of the Italians (12 out of 14 play or have played with us). And they deserve the chance to break Polish domination on the ground, the team that wants to win in front of its very warm fans (there is not even a ticket to pay gold) the third consecutive World Cup. Like Italy between 1990 and 1998, like Brazil between 2002 and 2010.
After years of poor success, the team you do not expect – made up of guys who were struggling to blossom in clubs – to find the world final after 24 years. At the time, coach De Giorgi was 37 years old. Of the 14 Azzurri protagonists today, only 8 were born and, probably, only Anzani, Giannelli and Balaso had learned to walk. It was another sporting era. The free was an idea that made its debut in that World Cup. There was still the foul of “net” in the service as in tennis and the sets were at 15 and with the change of the ball: the games lasted an eternity and only from the following year it was decided to revolutionize the game with the introduction of the most televised current system. But most of all, that was the Generation of Phenomena shaped by Velasco and ferried in the last mile by Bebeto before the registry directed the careers of those champions in other directions. Like De Giorgi, who knows how to do it and dreams of reliving a night like those there.
Against Slovenia, Italy starts off with a flat foot on the accelerator. The solid wall (as usual in this World Cup) and also the effective service. The Azzurri often use the short serve to remove solutions from the Slovenian construction and the scheme works. De Giorgi’s team flies to 7-1, undergoes the opponent’s return with Mozic’s turn at bat and then regains control of the set, up to lead it serenely into port. And the same attitude also in the second set, despite Slovenia showing a greater organization on the defense wall. Italy immediately takes a break and then manages the partial. Lavia a tax for the Slovenians and the Azzurri hold the match firmly in hand. In the third, De Giorgi’s team lowers the engine revs a bit, but never leaves Slovenia the chance to reopen the match. And if he takes it home.
September 10, 2022 (change September 10, 2022 | 23:25)
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