Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2015 – European giants Italy defeated Cuba 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21) to secure the bronze medal of Men's U23 World Championship at Al Nasr Hall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Monday. Italy revenged their Pool stage defeat to get the bronze medal, while Cuba finished fourth
Italy's big gum Gabriele Nelli led the way with impressive 25 points, while centre Elia Bossi scored 14 for the winners. Osmany Uriarte led the losers with 21 points followed by Abrahan Alfonso 12.
The dominance in blocking and backline defence were key factor for the Italian team to gain the bronze medal as they could won the crucial points of each set to capture the victory.
Cuba fought early through the wing spikers to lead 2-1, 4-3 and 5-4, before Italy's setter Luca spirito conducts some combinations putting his team ahead 8-7 at the first TTO. Italy fell into frequent service mistakes to give the Cuban team the chance to go for 16-14 n the second TTO. Cuba used the spikes of Osmany Uriarte and Abrahan Alfonso to lead 22-20 when they had 5 consecutive unforced errors to allow Italy to have a big turn over and win the set 25-22.
Italy's opposite Gabriele Nelli led Italy to early lead in the second set with his spike service and efficient hits from position 2 to go for 2-0 and 5-3. Cuba rebounded quickly using the tight blocks and the spikes of Miguel Gutierrez to make it 6-5 and got the 1st TTO mark at 8-6. Cuba had wide dominance thereafter through overwhelming the net action to widen the score to 16-11. The Cubans started to use the quick attacks through Rodriguez Osoria to win the second set widely 25-18.
Italy regain their consistency in the third set with Nelli doing a great role with his unstoppable hits to give Italy a lead 8-6. Italy succeeded to widen the score to 16-10. Cuba aggressively came back to narrow the score to 22-21, before Italy made it 25-23 with successful block.
Again Italy stayed ahead in the fourth set deploying their blocks and could mark double score 8-4, Cuba fought back to with a remarkable improvement in their defence and blocking to draw 11-11. Italy changed their strategy to the quick attacks through Elia Bossi and Fabio Ricci and thus Italy could have a slim advance 16-15. Although Cuba's big gun Uriarte did his best , but it wasn't enough to avoid the defeat as Nelli scored the winner 25-21 as Italy went to a win 3-1 to capture the bronze medal.