The best youth. The long season of successes of Italian sport does not end. Volleyball, one month after the double European victory just celebrated with Mattarella at the Quirinale, is still taking the stage. Italy Under 21 for the first time in history is world champion in the category. This time the azzurrini did better than the girls, second in the Under 18 World Cup which just ended in Durango, Mexico, beaten only in the final by Russia (3-0).
A steamroller for the men’s U21 team that showed an edge in the world championship that took place between Sardinia and Sofia. The list of the Azzurri is clear: 8 victories out of eight games played, only two sets lost (against Poland in the semifinals) and the title on the bulletin board after the 3-0 final win against Russia (25-19, 25-22, 25- 20) in just over an hour of play. When the victory over the Russians came to the second match ball, joy exploded at the PalaPirastu in Cagliari, a theater with crowded stands of the Italian company. After losing four finals (1985 in Milan, 1991 in Cairo, 1993 in Rosario and 2019 in Manama), the azzurrini have hit the gold medal in a season that has already seen the Under 20 women conquer the World Cup in their category.
The Azzurrini’s victory starts from afar, from the Under 19 World Cup played in Tunisia in 2019. The same group of boys won the gold medal, beating Russia in the final. The driver of this team of young champions is a not yet twenty year old from Cuneo, captain Tommaso Rinaldi, a two-meter spiker who plays in the Top Volley Cisterna Latina. There is no point that does not exalt him, it was he who started the party last night by running far and wide across the parquet with a tricolor on his shoulders. On the other hand, the one who binds the stories of the winning Italvolley with a thin but indestructible thread is Alessandro Michieletto, the implacable hammer from Brescia to the Europeans won by Fefè De Giorgi’s Italy and who joined the Under 21 race to get another medal gold, he who had returned from the sad experience at the Tokyo Olympics.
There is also a lot of Generation of phenomena in the success of the Azzurri. In fact, Angiolino Frigoni, a veteran of volleyball, sits on the bench. Coach since 1986, he experienced the great season of the Azzurri’s successes as Julio Velasco’s second until 1996, thus placing one in line with the other 2 World Championships (1990 and 1994), 3 European Championships (1989, 1993, 1995), 1 World Cup World (1995) and 5 World League. Frigoni followed Velasco also in 1997 when the Argentine took the reins of the women’s national team. The following year he took over as the first coach and at the helm of the blue he obtained the bronze at the 1999 European Championship, then hitting the first Olympic qualification for the women’s national team (9th place at the Sydney 2000 Olympics). Since 2019 he has been the coach of the men’s junior national team.
The victory at the Under 21 World Cup is not only the confirmation of the boom season of our volleyball. Above all, it is the certainty of having a movement that, through its young people, is already capable of guaranteeing a future and further growth for Italvolley. One fact above all: the azzurrini were the best also individually in the U21 World Cup: Nicola Cianciotta was the best central, Luca Porro the best setter, Tommaso Rinaldi the best hitter and Alessandro Michieletto the best of all. Italians good people. Especially if they play volleyball.