Italy maintained their perfect record on home ground as the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Men’s World Championships began round two, earning a straightforward 25-20, 25-18, 25-16 win over Finland as pool E matches got underway in Milan’s Forum di Assago.
The tournament co-hosts and Rio 2016 silver medallists, winner of all five of their opening pool A, B, C and D matches, have now compounded their dominance and look favourites to win this second grouping and earn a place in the Top Six who will contest round three in Turin’s Pala Alpitour starting next Wednesday (September 26.)
All 16 teams have carried over their opening pool results to this second stage being staged in fresh venues within the hosting nations of Italy and Bulgaria.
The top teams from the E, F, G and H pools will go through to round three, along with the two best runners-up.
Russia remain second behind Italy following a 25-17, 25-16, 25-21 win over The Netherlands that has improved their record to four wins and two defeats.
Rio 2016 champions Brazil top pool F with 14 points following their 25-21, 25-22, 25-15 win over Australia in Bologna’s Paladozza.
An amazing game for Italy 🇮🇹 @Federvolley as they beat Finland 🇫🇮 @FinnVolleyBall on their opening game in Milan.— Volleyball World (@FIVBVolleyball) September 21, 2018
#5 Osmany Juantorena @osmanijp5 and #9 Ivan Zaytsev @zaytsev led the Italians to a stunning triumph.
The highlights 👇#FIVBMensWCH #volleyball #volleyballWCHs pic.twitter.com/ufUFV8WzWM
Slovenia are second on 12 points after defeating Belgium 28-26, 28-26, 25-19.
In pool G, being played at the Armeec Arena in Sofia, the United States. Rio 2016 bronze medallists, maintained their perfect record with a 25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 25-17 win over Canada.
Bulgaria are second on 12 points following a 25-19, 28-26, 26-24 win over Iran.
Pool H - taking place at Varna’s Palace of Culture and Sports - is the most tightly contested of all four groups right now as Poland, the defending champions, had their lead trimmed to two points as they lost 25-16, 19-25, 23-25, 25-33, 14-16 in a thrilling match against Argentina.
Serbia closed the gap with a 3-2 win over France, with the scoreline of 22-25, 26-24, 25-20, 18-25, 18-16.