Velasco: "Italy has tiger eyes, but it will be tough with Slovenia"

Velasco: “Italy has tiger eyes, but it will be tough with Slovenia”

The former Azzurri coach “reads” the semifinal of the Volleyball World Cup: “We must not make the mistake of feeling at an advantage. The match against France was one, here it will be another story”

From our correspondent Gian Luca Pasini

On 1 October 1990, Italy, coached by Julio Velasco, won the first World Cup. That day began a story that continues after a long time.

When Italy won the first World Cup none of the Azzurri was born, are there no personal ties, are there any other types?
“I believe that the link with history is always there. Not only with the national team of the 90s, but also with those that came after. Italy, very often, managed to stay there at the top. took the gold, it is true, but it has almost always remained in the upper echelons. We are in an elite. And when there is something more than that, you can aim to win. I have never talked about a crisis because I don’t think so . You can’t talk about a crisis if you lose a semi-final. It’s a cultural-sporting mistake. That’s why I’ve always been confident about Italian men’s and women’s volleyball. Because the Italian movement is very strong and these national teams reflect it. We just have to protect the most important clubs. small “.

Velasco, what match will Italy-Slovenia be?
“France showed with Japan that they were not at the highest level, while Slovenia showed Ukraine that they had a great match. Because the Ukrainians were a tough opponent. And so Italy will have to play another game. improvement from my point of view “.

Example?
“The wrong lines were too many and above all at the wrong time. Then the block is fine, but Italy must defend more. Because in my opinion Slovenia is a very strong team.”

Twenty-four years without a world podium can be a burden for this team or when you are playing all this you never think about it?
“I hope they are not. There would be no reason for this to happen. They are not responsible for the story. They are only responsible for the present. The famous motto ‘sport is here and now’ refers to just that. That. the first does not count and what can happen either. The boys have to think only of this match. The conspiracy of the past and the conspiracy of the future must not belong to them. It is ‘only’ a game, it is not played for the history of Italian volleyball . It would be a glaring mistake. “

His phrases that had a philosophy behind them are a bit missing: do you see tiger eyes in this team?
“Yes, I see them. And it is very important that they exist in times of difficulty. Not that they exist only in times when things are going well. And this game will test that aspect. I think there will be hard moments. And it is normal for it to be like this, it’s a world semi-final. We must always believe in it. This will be the key for me. When we play better and when we play worse “.

Against France, Italy played a match of incredible intensity. Can it be replicated? Could the blues have wasted too much energy?
“I don’t think a match like that takes away energy. On the contrary. Difficult games that are won give energy. Provided that on a subconscious level we don’t make the mistake of saying: we beat France who are stronger than Slovenia so we have an advantage. . The match against France was one, here it will be another story. Slovenia are strong and when we beat them, they were at the tiebreaker. We need to prepare for an intense and painful match. “

In a country that is usually criticized a lot, sometimes defeatist, are these winning national teams a beautiful image of Italy? Beyond the results.
“I believe that in general Italian sport is: the national swimming team, water polo, Italy football at the European Championship. Italian sport is showing that we have a youth that deserves our recognition, our respect. our support. And that the Italian sport is at a very high level in the world, as indeed is this country. Italians lose awareness that they live in one of the richest countries in the world. This is a pity. That it is an imperfect country. we all know. But we must not forget our privileges, this must be our strength. And we always think that others have more and that others are better: I tolerate it very little and I often remember it to the guys I train. It will be because I come from a country with more problems “.

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