SENT TO TOKYO. They want to win. And they don’t hide it. They are the coaches of our national teams, from water polo to basketball, crossing the two Italvolleys, female and male. They have a password, which is “group”. A slogan, one could now say, launched with indisputable success by Roberto Mancini, the European champion coach, who made his Italy a family as well as a (winning) football team. On closer inspection, people like Meo Sacchetti or Sandro Campagna from the group and its innumerable variants have been talking and nourishing themselves for years, indeed for decades. In short, if Mancini’s cannot be defined as a school, certainly the trail left behind by the European Championship won by the Azzurri is an indisputable factor. From a wake it can be transformed into a flying carpet to land in the precious metals area, including gold.
After all, there is a lot of magic in the blue basketball team, the last to qualify for the Tokyo Games in the exciting inside or outside with Serbia. It makes the national team led by Meo Sacchetti dream, who returns to the Olympics after 17 years. For coach Sacchetti this is the third time at the Games after the two he collected as a player in Moscow 1980 (silver) and Los Angeles 1984 (fifth place). Having avoided the United States, the blues of basketball in the first phase will see it, in group B, with Australia, Germany and Nigeria. Debut on Sunday 25 July against Germany (at 6.40 am in Italy). For Italy this is the 12th participation in the Olympics.
Even in the pool, the group formula is the most popular. Our Settebello starts, as usual, among the favorite formations, being the winners of the 2019 World Cup, the one played in South Korea. Sandro Campagna, the Settebello coach, won everything with the cap well fitted on his head, same music more or not even as a coach: «The worst opponent for Italy? Italy. Azzurri included in group A with South Africa, Greece, Hungary, United States and Japan. The adventure will start right against the hosts, on Sunday 25 July, at 3 am Italian time. In group B, defined as the iron group, there are Australia, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, Croatia and Kazakhstan. Rarely in water polo has an Olympics had such a fierce number of participants.
Those who really do not hide are the girls and boys of volleyball. Everyone sees them in the medal zone and this obviously increases our expectations. The vice Olympic champions of coach Gianlorenzo Blengini will have to contend with Canada, Poland, Japan, Iran and Venezuela. Group 6, debut against Canadians on Saturday 24 July at 2 am Italian time.
It’s the girls who shine though. Eyes on them, as an absolute reality on a global level in recent years. With Paola Egonu fresh universal standard-bearer at the Games, the goal is to improve the second place at the world championships. For the girls of coach Davide Mazzanti debut Sunday 25 July at 2 am Italian time against Russia (at the Games with the initials ROC). In the first phase, the Italians will also have to contend with Turkey, Argentina, China and the USA. About the group: watch out for the 3×3 basketball girls and the beach volleyball couples. It will be fun.