Italy host Serbia in bid to beat head-to-head odds


Turin, Italy, September 25, 2018 - Co-hosts and three-time world champions Italy entertain Serbia, Wednesday night at Turin's sold-out Pala Alpitour, as the Final Six of the 2018 FIVB World Championship heats up.

It's the seventh time the two sides go head-to-head in the World Championship and Serbia have won five of the six previous encounters - though Italy prevailed when it counted most, in the final of the 1998 edition in Japan. That was Italy's third time in a row and the only time that the Balkan side have ever been in a final.

Team Serbia celebrate a win over France earlier in the 2018 FIVB World Championship.

• Italy have lost five of their six matches against Serbia at the World Championship. The only exception was the final of the 1998 World Championship, when Italy won their third successive world title in Japan.
• These sides also met at the World Championship in 2010 and 2014. In 2010, Serbia won the bronze medal by defeating Italy 3-1. In 2014, Serbia defeated Italy 3-0 in the second round.
• Earlier this year, Italy and Serbia met in the Nations League. Italy won 3-0 in the preliminary round.
• Each of Serbia's last three victories over Italy in world level major competitions came in five sets (2015 and 2016 World League).

• Italy have won seven of their eight matches at the 2018 World Championship, with the exception of a 3-2 defeat against Russia in the second round.
• Only in 1998 (11) and 2006 (8) did Italy win more matches at a single World Championship.
• Italy have reached the semifinals at only one of the last four World Championships, in 2010. They ultimately finished in fourth place at that tournament, held on home soil in Italy.
• Italy have won four matches in straight sets at the 2018 World Championship. The last time they had more straight-set wins at a single World Championship was in 1998 (8).
• Ivan Zaytsev is Italy's top scorer this World Championship, having netted 118 points.
• Simone Anzani has averaged 0.59 points from blocks per set this World Championship, best of all Italian players.

• Serbia have lost two matches at the 2018 World Championship, their first match against United States (3-2) and their most recent fixture against Poland (3-0).
• Serbia could lose consecutive World Championship matches in straight sets for the first time since 1970, when they lost 3-0 against Belgium, Bulgaria and DPR Korea.
• Serbia reached the semifinals at four of the last five World Championships, with the exception of 2014. They went on to reach the final only once, in 1998 (lost against Italy).
• Aleksandar Atanasijevic is Serbia's top scorer in this tournament on 92 points.