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Fei,one of the most experienced Italian player

London, Great Britain, July 31, 2012 - In its second presentation at the London Olympic Games 2012 at Earls Court, the Argentine Seniors' could not stop the power of the Italian team and was defeated 1-3 (17-25, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25) in a date that levelled Pool A. Michael Lasko and Ivan Zaytsev, two of the players that got the Italian citizenship to play for the European team were the top scorers with 18 and 17 points respectively while Facundo Conte paced Argentina with 14. Now, Argentina faces this Thursday Poland at 12.45 Argentine time. Even though Poland won the 2012 FIVB World League was just defeated by Bulgaria.

Italy secured their first win in the men’s volleyball tournament of the London Olympics beating Argentina and taking their record to one win and one loss in Pool A at Earls Court on Tuesday. Italy’s offense was anchored by Michal Lasko and Ivan Zaytsev. Italy literally outclassed their opponents in blocking, totaling 14 vs. only 6 for the South Americans, and thereby extended its positive tradition at the Olympics for a fifth win over Argentina in as many matches.

The Italian team, ranked No.6 in the world, looked the more assured side right from the outset. They played solid, mistake free volleyball and took advantage of Argentina’s ragged early play to take the first set 25-17.

Italy’s movement around the court was causing Argentina’s blockers problems. This led to a large percentage of Argentina’s block attempts failing as the Italian spikers thumped the ball into the court on a regular basis.

Argentina tightened up their performance in the second, taking the first three points of the set and never letting the Italians back into contention. Argentina won the set 25-21 to even the match.

Argentina seemed to check out in the third set, falling behind early in the face of a very effective Italian spike rate and being unable to recover enough to get within eight points at the end of the set.

Argentina came out of their slump at the start of the fourth set to take an early lead, but they were unable to maintain the intensity and soon fell behind. Once Italy had the lead in what would be the final set, they never looked back.

Ivan Zaytsev got off to a fast start for the Italians, leading all scorers with six points in the first set. Although unable to keep up that pace, he continued his efficient play for the whole match, particularly with his high-powered serves. He finished with 17 points. Michal Lasko also played well, ending the match with five blocks to go along with 13 points on spikes.
Facundo CONTE was the main man for Argentina. Despite being relatively small at just 198cm, his high-flying play was a sight to see. Conte finished with 14 points, but more impressive were his reception statistics (16/19, 84.21%).

Press Conference:

Italy scored on Tuesday afternoon its first win in the prelims of the volleyball tournament at Earls Court by beating Argentina 3-1. Coach Mauro Berruto was evidently pleased with the result: “It was a difficult match because Argentina plays with a very specific style you need to adjust to. The fourth set was very emotional but we eventually celebrated a happy end. This is a good lesson we can take to learn to stand such situations also in the next days”. As for the chances of his side in this tournament, he added: “We know that the result of the match between Bulgaria and Poland leaves all doors open. We have to stay cool and show patience, keeping concentrated to take some more points from the next matches”. Berruto substituted captain Cristian Savani with Simone Parodi to get his side on track: “Cristian was not having a great day and so I opted for Parodi because we needed someone who is very solid also in reception. He did well right after he joined the game so he fully deserved to stay on the court”.

“We are improving day by day, we always start cautiously but we keep on improving. I played quite relaxed and personally had a good game” stressed Italian setter Dragan Travica.

Argentina’s mentor Javier Weber commented: “Italy was much stronger in all fundamentals, but especially in attack and blocking. We know what we have to do in our next matches: we have to tighten up and attack with consistency. Our goal remains to make it to the 1/4 finals”.

“There are good days and bad days; today it was Italy’s day, they played well and they deservedly won the game” singled out Argentinean star Facundo Conte.

Statistics: Official website London 2012 - Official Website FIVB | Fixture
Photos: FeVA - FIVB | Results and Standings