Katowice (Poland) (AFP)

The Italian volleyball players, led by their genius passer Simone Giannelli, ended sixteen years of famine by winning the European title on Sunday evening in Katowice (Poland), after their victory against Slovenia at the end of the suspense.

Italy's last title dates back to 2005 and the Euro won at home in Rome.

Since then, the Transalpines had climbed to the final of the European Championships in 2011 and 2013, and the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio.

Each time they had bowed, but on Sunday they placed Italy at the top of Europe for the seventh time at the end of the suspense (22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 15- 11).

Ferdinando de Giorgi's players arrived at this Euro frustrated by their surprising and unexpected loss in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics against Argentina, and without their two aging stars Osmany Juantorena (36, retired) and Ivan Zaytsev (32 years old, operation).

The coach had thus made the choice of youth, around "the experienced" captain Simone Giannelli, 25, with nuggets like Alessandro Michieletto (19) and Daniele Lavia (21).

Italian revelation of the Games and the Euro, Michieletto was a little further behind Sunday in the Spodek Arena in Katowice, won for the cause of Slovenia.

- Molten Lavia -

On the other hand, Lavia was fused throughout the game with 21 points.

It was he who restarted the meeting on a series of services in the middle of the fourth set.

The Italian Daniele Lavia brilliant in the final of the Euro volleyball against Slovenia in Katowice, September 19, 2021 JANEK SKARZYNSKI AFP

Led 2 sets to 1, the Italians tried everything for everything by bringing in Yuri Romano (24) in the 4th round, a choice that paid off in the decisive tie break, moment chosen by Michieletto to finally let go his left arm of fire and three aces to put his teammates into orbit (11-7).

"I'm like a baby because I cried a lot. It was my dream to win a title with my selection," said Giannelli after the final.

For the Slovenes, it is the third final of a European Championship lost after the failures in 2015 against France and in 2019 against Serbia, in progress however since on their first attempt they had not won a single set. and that in 2019, they had taken one from the Serbs.

A small consolation for the Slovenes, whose feat against Poland, double reigning world champion (2014 and 2018), big favorite for the European coronation at home and finally third, unfortunately went unanswered.

The teammates of Alen Pajenk and Tine Urnaut had been deprived of the Tokyo Olympics by France in January 2020 in Berlin, after leading two heats to nothing and taking the best start in the third, and were counting on this European Championship to beautify their summer.

Sacred Olympic champions this summer, the French were eliminated in the round of 16 of this European Championship by the Czech Republic, at the end of an endless marathon of sixteen weeks and 31 matches between the League of Nations, the Olympics and the Euro.

© 2021 AFP

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