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20/07/2015 00:20
Italy edge arch-rivals France to claim also WEVZA U19 men’s crown in Valladolid
News from the Zonal Associations

Valladolid, Spain, July 19, 2015. On that same day where their countrywomen topped the final standing of the U16 Girls’ Championship, Italy’s rising stars claimed gold also at the WEVZA U19 Men’s Championship held in the Spanish city of Valladolid. The Azzurrini scored a 3:1 win over France in the final match to top the charts in the end. Germany came back from 1:2 in sets to beat hosts Spain in an intense bronze medal match. The tie-break was a lucky one for Germany that could rejoice with the bronze medals. After scoring a five-set win over Switzerland and by claiming their second victory in the tournament, Portugal settled for fifth place. Belgium delivered an impressive performance to beat their neighbours from The Netherlands by 3:1 to finish the competition in seventh place.

Italy claimed the title with a great demonstration of solid Volleyball to edge France 3:1 (25-20, 25-15, 23-25, 25-19) in the final match. Italy and France lived up to the expectations to deliver a classy final act of the tournament. The Azzurri confirmed their potential and status as top side in the competition to finish it on a high note. The Italians were off to a flying start in the first set and their successful balance of attacks and blocks led to their 25-20 win. The second set followed the same script and the title was only one step away for Italy. France recovered and brought uncertainty to the final. Italy showed their best weapons, with eventual MVP Gianluca Galassi as their leading player to claim gold at this year’s WEVZA U19 Championship.  
Italy’s mentor Mario Barbiero said: “We are very happy to win this tournament. For us, this was an important tournament. I think we played very well and it was a very good preparation for the World Championship. I want to congratulate the organisers and the Royal Spanish Volleyball Federation for delivering a superb tournament here in Valladolid.”
France’s coach Olivier Audabram said: “We played a very good tournament. We improved our position from last year and showed a big fighting spirit. We are testing players and I hope to do better next year.”

Germany came back from 1:2 in sets to beat Spain at the tie-break (25-23, 21-25, 13-25, 25-22, 15-10) and rejoice with the bronze medals. The first set was very tight, with continuous ties. In the deciding moments, Germany was more effective to take the lead in the match. The local heroes with the support of their fans reacted and reversed the situation on the scoreboard with two great performances in sets 2 and 3. Germany wanted to take revenge for their defeat in the pool phase and put all their strength forcing the tie-break. In the fifth set the best start from the German side gave them the right edge towards the final triumph at 15-10.  

Portugal achieved a great comeback to finish the tournament in fifth place. The young Portuguese players claimed the first set with a very good performance. Despite losing the two following sets, they reacted to win 3:2 (25-18, 20-25, 19-25, 25-19, 15-9). The Swiss players had a shaky start, but slowly improved throughout the game. Switzerland controlled the second and third sets with ease. Portugal’s fighting spirit lifted them up to force the tie-break and they dominated the last set to claim fifth place in the end.
Switzerland’s coach Michel Dufaux said: “The tournament was a very nice experience. The organisation was fantastic. We are in a big sports hall, we stayed at a very nice hotel, and the organisers did a great job. As for my team, this was the first time we played together. We put ourselves under pressure and it was difficult for us to manage this situation. We grew with every match and we played a little bit better, and I expect that next year we will be able to play our best.”

Belgium celebrated a happy end of their campaign in Valladolid with a 3:1 win (25-23, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23) over their neighbours from The Netherlands. The score remained tight in the first set up until the final rush. Belgium used their opportunities in the crunch time and finished a tight set at 25-23. The Netherlands had a sleepy start in the second set to ease the work of their neighbours. Belgium seemed on route for a 3:0 win but they could not capitalise on a 20:16 lead in set 3. The Netherlands reversed the game to win that set by 23-25. The fourth set developed in the same way as the first one. The teams traded for points but in the end Belgium had the upper hand to crown the final day of competition in Valladolid with a victory.  
Belgium’s mentor Joel Banks said: “We are very happy because we have finished the tournament winning the last match. We need to improve some tactical and technical topics over the next weeks in our preparations for the World Championship in Argentina. Also I want to congratulate the local organisers: they worked very hard, with a big effort, very professionally. The conditions have been very good, at the hotel, in the sports hall and with all those involved in the delivery of this tournament.”
Dutch mentor Han Abbing said: “We wanted to make the semis and play for the medals, but we ended playing the matches for places 5 to 8. Every day we played a little bit better. That’s good and positive but today we made too many mistakes.”

Final standing

1.    Italy
2.    France
3.    Germany
4.    Spain
5.    Portugal
6.    Switzerland
7.    Belgium
8.    The Netherlands

Individual Awards

Best Outside Spiker: Thibaut Thoral (FRA)
Second Best Outside Spiker: Francisco Iribarne (ESP)
Best Middle Blocker: Gianluca Galassi (ITA)
Second Best Middle Blocker: Gabriele Di Martino (ITA)
Best Setter: Léo Meyer (FRA)
Best Opposite: Maximilian Auste (GER)
Best Libero: Luc Parville (FRA)
MVP: Gianluca Galassi (ITA)

For further information visit

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