Milan, Italy, September 22, 2018 – Italy lost to Russia 2-3 on Saturday in Milan before 13,000 fans but the co-hosts were nevertheless able to secure their spot in the Final Six of the Men’s World Championship coming up next week in Turin.
Russia coach Sergei Shliapnikov: “First of all I want to thank my players and all the staff. It was difficult to play in front of such a huge partisan crowd and in fact, I needed to reassure my team because there was a lot of tension before the match. They were able to motivate themselves and I am very satisfied with the attitude they had during the match. I am aware that our fate depends on what happens between Italy and the Netherlands, but anything can happen in sport. We will try to do our best also tomorrow!”
Simone Giannelli, setter of Italy: “Losing this way always hurts and it hurts even more when you lose in the fifth set. Russia played an extraordinary game even if we demonstrated to be able to fight even against such a powerful team. These matches give indications on where we need to improve and where we need to look for different solutions. Now we need to recover and think about the next match.”
Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: “It is obvious that with teams with such heights we needed to have the patience to stay calm, something that we weren’t able to do after the first set. We also suffered in defence but it is always difficult when dealing with serves like the ones of a strong team like Russia. I am however very happy about the qualification, but for now, we set aside the thought of Turin and think about our final match here.”