In the first official friendly match that was held at their training center in Cavalese, yesterday, Italy showed first positive signs before the World Champs in September, by beating The Netherlands 3-1 (25-17, 25-16, 27-29, 25-20). The “Azzurri” head coach Gianlorenzo Blengini did not rotate very much his lineup, sending in diagonal Giannelli – Zaytsev, Lanza and Juantorena as outside hitters, Anzani and Mazzone as middle blockers and Colaci as libero. On the other side, The Netherlands started the match with Keemink as a setter, Abdel-Aziz as an opposite, Ter Horst and Andringa as outside hitters, Plak and Parkinson as middle blockers and Sparidans as libero. Italy closed the match with a good 60% attack, showing good things in service (8 aces). Overall, Blengini’s wards have always controlled the game except for the finish of the third set. Ivan Zaytsev scored 21 points for the winning side while Nimir Abdel-Aziz made 20 points for the Dutch team. In the second friendly between these two teams, today, The Netherlands were more successful – 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 23-25, 27-25, 16-14).
Estonia won the third test game against Slovakia as they defeated the rivals in straight sets. Estonia prevailed partially by a 25-19, 25-14, and 26-24 despite playing without several key players like Kert Toobal, Robert Täht, and Rait Rikberg. Slovakia head coach also gave a day off to some important players: Emanuel Kohút, Peter Michalovič, Matej Paták, and Matej Kubš. Renee Teppan finished with 16 points for Estonia who will play the following three test games against Finland on August 10-12 at the Kalevi Sports Hall Tallinn.
Greece scored two wins against Ukraine in two days as a part of the preparations for the 2019 CEV European Championship – Qualifiers. Yesterday, the team coached by Dimitrios Andreopoulos prevailed by a 3-1 (25-18, 25-18, 24-26, 28-26) in front of 400 spectators at the Alexandroupolis sports hall. Nikos Zoupanis of Greece was the top scorer of the match with 19 points, including an impressive 70% attack (19/27). Georgios Petreas set up four kill blocks. Dmytro Teryomenko scored 10 points for Ukraine. Today, Greece beat the rivals in four sets as well, partially 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20.