The second match of the day in pool A was the pool final between Italy and Belgium – both with two wins after two rounds of action. Italy looked the stronger side in the beginning of the first set, where they had an 8-6 and 16-10 lead. But the momentum of the set switched and Belgium took the first set with 25-23 after a superb comeback.
Both teams displayed a very high level of Volleyball and fought to qualify directly to the 1/4 finals and secure an extra day of rest. The Red Dragons from Belgium had the lead 8-6 and 16-14, and opposite Bram van den Dries kept hammering holes in the floor with his right hand. Italy’s head coach Mauro Berruto called a time-out as his side was trailing 18-21, but Belgium kept cool and won the set 25-19.
Things turned around in the third set. The Azzurri got their game together, and with Ivan Zaytsev upping his figures, Italy doubled their 8-6 lead at the first technical time-out to 16-12 at the second. Belgium seemed to have given up the set, and the Italian team closed it safe by 25-18. Waterproof blocking from Thomas Beretta and company gave Italy the 8-6 lead at the first technical time-out of the fourth set. The world class Volleyball continued with opposite Luca Vettori scoring 9 important points for his team securing the 16-15 lead. From somewhere Belgium got back momentum and took a 22-20 lead. But Italy showed why they are considered one of the Championship favourites surviving to three match balls for their opponents and brought it home at 27-25.
The fans in Arena Fyn got value for their money as the second tie-break of the day was a reality. Here team captain Frank Depestele brought out the best in his team and Belgium won the fifth set 15-9. With the result Belgium finished first in pool A and Italy will have to face the Netherlands in the Playoffs on Tuesday.
Soon more about this match, until then, read our coverage page at European Championship 2013 M.
Also check out photos at Galleries.