Unbeaten Italy crush Thailand 3-0


Osaka, Japan, October 8, 2018 - Italy blew away Thailand 3-0 in the last match of the second day of Pool F action at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Monday evening. The Thais had no answer to the speed, power and precision of Italy and were spiked to a standstill as they received an uncharacteristically heavy beating by 25-15, 25-12, 25-15 in 68 minutes. With this highly impressive victory, Italy improved their win-loss record to a perfect 7-0 while Thailand dropped to 3-4 after a second consecutive defeat in Osaka.

Paola Egonu led Italy's scoring with 15 points, captain Cristina Chirichella added 12 and Anna Danesi scored 11, with three blocks.

Sittirak Onuma (13) and Apinyapong Wilavan (7) contributed 20 points between them on a night when little went right for the tiring Thais against a fiercely determined Italy.

Thailand's tactics from the start appeared to revolve solely around Onuma, who attacked all across the front line with her customary vigour and speed to try and unsettle the Italian defence. Wilavan, too, pierced the formidable blue defence on a regular basis.

Miryam Sylla and Paolo Egonu carried the attack and Italy's lead increased to four at the second TTO, having dampened the Thais' early fire and fury.

In a battle between the two captains, Cristina Chirichella got the better of Pleumjit Thinkaow with a block point and the Italians romped to the first set 25-15 in only 23 minutes.

In the second set, Egonu and Pleumjit traded fierce spikes down the middle and Elena Pietrini attacked spectacularly from the left flank to keep Italy moving forward. Anna Danesi followed up as Italy were in a hurry to finish this and endure no five-set drama which had befallen both Russia and the United States in the first round.

The Thais couldn't live with the unrelenting pace and movement of Italy and Egonu blasted them into the second TTO with a comfortable cushion, 16-7. Pietrini resumed with a jump serve ace against the dazed Thai defence and the south-east Asians were forced into a TO down 19-8 and with a mountain to climb to stay in the set, never mind the match. Chirichella made sure there would be no let-up as Italy took the second set 25-12 with Lucia Bosetti in command on the left.

In the third set, setter Guedpard Pornpun lifted Thai spirits with a swifty spike at the net and Onuma, on the left, found a second wind to blaze past two Italian blockers, but Italy pulled away again to 16-12 at the second TTO.

The unstoppable Danesi fired across the Thai block from Italy's right and then notched a block point as Italy moved into the 20s before closing out the match 25-15.


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