Germany (GER) vs. Italy (ITA) men - Pool 2 - Preliminary Phase #15878428

Michieletto was one of three Italian players to register double digits in scoring

Still looking for a spot at the Paris Olympics, world champions Italy mean business in the Volleyball Nations League 2024 and that showed in their debut in the tournament as they swept continental rivals Germany in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2024 live on VBTV

Bringing their best players to the court at the Maracanãzinho stadium, the Italians gave no chance to their opponents, securing a 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-23) victory to start their campaign in the sixth edition of the tournament.

Italy’s main attackers rose to the occasion and thrived in the offensive system orchestrated by setter Simone Giannelli, with outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto registering 14 points (11 kills, two aces, one block), opposite Yuri Romanò contributing 13 (12 kills, one block) and middle blocker Roberto Russo adding another 11 (six kills, four blocks, one ace).

Michieletto was particularly important at the end of the match as after Germany built a 23-19 lead in the third set, he scored the last four points to give the Italians a win that earned them 5.15 points in the FIVB World Rankings, making them pass Japan for third place.

“It was a good match for us, especially the first set,” Romanò said. “Opening matches are never easy, but we managed to play well from the start. We had some ups and downs, but did a very good job at the end and are very happy. We’re still trying to qualify for the Olympics and every set is important, so it was great to take this match 3-0.”

Outside hitter Christian Fromm was Germany’s most productive player in the match, registering 13 points, with ten kills, two blocks and one ace.

“Italy have a great team, with a lot of experience, and they never give up, so there’s always a chance they can come back,” German captain Fromm reflected. “But I’m really sad and upset that we didn’t take at least the third set because we had our chances and a big lead. We came here to the first week with a young team, but we still want to win every match. Hopefully, we can show more in the upcoming matches.”

Iran and Serbia debut later

The only two teams yet to debut in the VNL 2024, Iran and Serbia will meet later, at 21:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Thursday), in a match with the potential to make an impact in the race to qualify for the Paris Games.

The last team inside the qualification zone with 253.22 points, Serbia can add up to 7.51 points with a victory, but are also at risk of being passed by Cuba if they drop the match to the Iranians, who are currently 45.5 points below the cut-off line, but could gain up to 12.49 with a triumph over the Europeans.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

On Thursday, three matches will be held at the Maracanãzinho, with Cuba and Germany playing at 14:00 local time (17:00 GMT), Japan and Serbia battling at 17:30 local time (20:30 GMT) and Brazil and Argentina ending the day at 21:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Friday).

  • Get your VNL merchandise now by clicking here
  • Sync the VNL 2024 with your calendar here
  • Download the VNL Fantasy app here