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01/09/2013 20:30
Russia wins second consecutive title, Italy claims bronze at U21 Worlds
News from the FIVB

Ankara, Turkey, September 1, 2013. On Sunday Russia completed their splendid run at the 2013 FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship in Ankara by routing Brazil in straight sets (25-16, 25-16, and 25-20) to retain the title their previous generation had claimed two years ago in Rio de Janeiro. This result rounds out a memorable summer for Russia’s Volleyball family after the U19 national team had also won gold at their World Championship in Mexico before a good share of the Olympic champions from London 2012 stood on top of the podium at the World League Finals in Argentina. 2012 European champions Italy completed their resurrection after they had finished only fourth in preliminary Pool D by edging France 3:1 (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, and 28-26) to win bronze, the first medal for this country in this age group since 1995 as the Championship was held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia where the “Azzurri” had also settled for third place.  

Russia claimed gold at the FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship with a fantastic performance in the gold medal match with Brazil. The team around coach Mikhail Nikolaev made Volleyball look like an easy game as they crushed the South American powerhouse by 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, and 25-20) to defend their title from 2011. Russia took charge of the situation in the first set. With a solid contribution of eight points from left-handed opposite Victor Poletaev, the European team cruised to an impressive 25-16 to take the lead. In the second set Brazil stepped up their blocking performance in search of a response, but so did Russia. Poletaev continued to fly as his team made another giant step towards the title with another convincing 25-16. The South American side kept trying to find the stop button on the Russian machine with their opposite Alan Souza spiking one point after another, but there was no stopping to Victor Poletaev & Co. Russia continued to dominate through the end when team captain Egor Feoktistov’s powerful spike registered the last point of the Championship to stop the clock at 25-20. Victor Poletaev scored four of Russia’s eight aces that gave them the biggest advantage in this final. He added another 13 attacking points and 3 blocking points for a total of 20 to become the best scorer of the game. Alan Souza was Brazil’s most prolific player with 14 points.  

Italy finished the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship in Turkey with a very valuable bronze medal. The 2012 European champions won the third place classification match against France after a dramatic ending that shaped up the final 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, and 28-26). Italy managed to come from behind in the first set and won it by 25-21. They completely dominated in the second set and doubled their advantage after a convincing 25-16. However, the Italians lost some of their concentration in the third set, but still attacked successfully. France showed some great blocking to take the edge. They were the better team in the conclusive moments of the set to win it by 25-20. In set four France were cruising towards a tie-breaker as they had a six-point advantage at 21-15. However, they could not hold onto it and their opponents managed to catch up and level the score. France were ahead again at 24-23, but could not capitalize on three set points before an ace by Edoardo Picco and a successful block by Enrico Diamantini gave Italy the two points they needed to win the set by 28-26 and the match by 3-1. Italy’s Luca Borgogno and France’s Julien Winkelmuller emerged as the best scorers of the match with 15 points each. Substitute Gabrielle Nelli contributed another 14 points to his team’s victory.
Marco Bonitta, coach of Italy: “I am very happy with the result. But I am also sad, because I am going to separate from this team as they will not be juniors anymore. I want to thank all my players because they got incredible results and made me really happy”.
Edoardo Picco, captain of Italy: “I am happy with this result. We demonstrated again that our team never gives up. I am very proud to be the captain of this team. We deserve this bronze medal and are very happy right now”.  

Final standing  

1. Russia
2. Brazil
3. Italy
4. France
5. Iran
6. Turkey
7. Argentina
8. India
9. Serbia
10. Japan
11. United States
12. Canada
13. Tunisia
14. Egypt
15. China
16. Mexico
17. Estonia
18. Morocco
19. Venezuela
20. Rwanda  

2013 FIVB Men's U21 World Championship Dream Team
Best Outside Spikers: Egor Feoktistov (RUS), Thibault Rossard (FRA)
Best Middle Blockers: Edoardo Picco (ITA), Ilyas Kurkaev (RUS)
Best Libero: Alperay Demirciler (TUR)
Best Setter: Murat Yenipazar (TUR)
Best Opposite Spiker: Alan Souza (BRA)
MVP: Victor Poletaev (RUS)

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