Italy's Osmany Juantorena, Emanuele Birarelli and Filippo Lanza after booking the spot in the semifinals
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 17, 2016 – Italy advanced to the semifinals of the men’s volleyball tournament at Rio 2016 Olympic Games by defeating Iran with a not complicated formula: Doing the simple things and keeping the calm.
Gianlorenzo Blengini, Coach of Italy: I am satisfied with the performance of my squad and we deserved to be among the top four. Today’s match was very complicated as the team started nervous given our condition of favorites after winning the pool. There was pressure on us. The key for us in the close first set was to stay calm and do the simple things. After that, everything changed and we created many difficulties to Iran with our serves.
Emanuele Birarelli, Captain of Italy: I am very glad to be in the semifinals. It was a tough match against Iran, especially in the first set when we missed a lot of serves and they also played good in reception and executed a fast game. Then we started to serve better and our attack was the difference.
Raul Lozano, Coach of Iran: It was a well deserved victory for Italy. I want to divide the match in two parts. The first one we played at the same level of Italy in the first set and half of the second set. It was a very interesting match to be watched and enjoy. In the second part we made many errors and Italy attacked. The difference in the match was the attack. The Italian players were superior in attack than the players of Iran.
On the performance in the tournament
I am satisfied, because we played consistently. In the preliminary round we finished first as a team in blocking and among the top four in reception. The difference was in our serves because we use more the floating serve to create difficulties over the power of the jump serve. The problem at this level is the opponent, we can play at a good level and win and lose depending on the quality of the other team.