Italy (ITA) vs. Argentina (ARG) men - Quarterfinals #5909820

Simone Giannelli led Italy to an emphatic quarterfinal win over Argentina

World champions Italy are one step closer to their first Volleyball Nations League title after the Europeans advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 edition of the tournament on Wednesday, in Gdańsk, Poland.

The Europeans had a brilliant performance against Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists Argentina, cruising to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-14) quarterfinal victory at the Ergo Arena.

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Back in the VNL semifinals for a second-straight season, the Italians will now face the United States, who earlier on Wednesday topped defending champions France 3-2 (25-21, 25-18 17-25, 24-26, 15-9) in the first quarterfinal in Gdańsk – the duel will take place on Saturday. The world champions will try to win their first VNL medal after finishing fourth in 2022.

Italy had the four highest-scoring players in the match and ranking above them was star outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto. The 21-year-old, left-handed outside hitter had a 15-point performance, with 13 kills, one block and one ace.

“We played very, very well tonight,” Michieletto commented. “We were ready for a very difficult match because Argentina had been playing very well in the VNL, but they missed two players due to injury. But we remained focused the entire time because this match was very important for us. It’s a big arena and I think we adjusted well to it. USA are a very good team too, it’s going to be a battle, but we’re ready for it.”

Italy (ITA) vs. Argentina (ARG) men - Quarterfinals #5909810

Michieletto was unstoppable at the net and led the Italian offense

Fellow outside hitter Daniele Lavia tallied 12 points (11 kills, one block), opposite Yuri Romanò produced 11 (ten kills, one block) and middle blocker Roberto Russo added another ten (four kills, three blocks, three aces) in the Italian victory.

Middle blocker Agustin Loser was the only Argentinean player to reach double digits in scoring, with ten kills (seven kills, two blocks and one ace). After him, appeared opposite Pablo Kukartsev, with six points.

The Italians were also dominant in the match stats, getting more points than the Argentineans in kills (44 to 26), blocks (nine to four), aces (five to two) and opponent errors (17 to 12).

The VNL 2023 quarterfinals continue on Thursday, when the third and fourth duels will be played. Japan and Slovenia will battle in the first match of the day, at 17:00 local time (15:00 UTC), with hosts Poland and Brazil meeting later at 20:00 local time (18:00 UTC).

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