06.08.2022 - Vienna, Austria
Austria started well into the first set and took the first point right away with a block from Ermacora. This block should not have been the last one the fans got to see from Ermacora. Spectacular rallies followed. Austria kept the lead. Italy managed to equalize for the first time at 9:9 with a block by Rossi. Now sideout followed sideout: 10:10, 11:11, 12:12 until 17:17. At 19:17 for Italy with an ace service by Rossi, Austria took its first timeout. After that, things continued to heat up. The fans had to tremble, because the two nations delivered a head-to-head race until Italy won the first set with 23:21.
In the second set, the Italians went right after it and gained a good lead. However, Ermacora and Pristauz caught up and managed to equalize at 9:9. Before the technical timeout, the score was 11:10 for the Austrians. At 13:10 for Austria, Italy now took a timeout. However, this short break only helped Rossi and Carambula to a limited extent. The Austrians won the second set 21:13.
The third set in this first match between Austria and Italy did not go as desired for the Austrian men. The Italians pulled ahead and quickly took the lead, which they continued to defend. With a five-point lead, they won the third set 15-10.
In the second match Cottafava/Nicolai and Seidl/Waller stood in the witch's cauldron and were allowed to be carried by this insane atmosphere.
The first set was quite exciting at first. Sideout followed sideout until it was 8:8. From this point on, Seidl and Waller had to fight, because Cottafava and Nicolai left them behind. Austria managed to catch up again and equalized at 12:12. Then Cottafava/Nicolai were seemingly just superior to Seidl/Waller. They had to admit defeat in the first set. The first set ended with 21:16 for Italy.
In the second set Cottafava immediately shot a serviceout, which gave Austria the first point. This happened to him another time when the score was 4:2 for Austria. Austria managed to hold the lead. The atmosphere in the stadium gave them the necessary self-confidence. After the technical timeout, the score was 11:11 after an attack net by Waller, but Seidl immediately regained the lead with a shot longline. From this point on, the Italians were close on their heels. With a strong block by Seidl, Austria won the second set and thus initiated the third set, which kept the fans hoping. At this point, there was still a chance for Austria to enter the final. Accordingly, the atmosphere in the sold-out stadium at the Heumarkt in Vienna was great.
After motivating words from the coach, the third set started. Again a shot out at the beginning on the part of Italy. Things were heating up, because both teams knew what it was all about now. Austria was lagging behind. Despite cool temperatures, the third set was energy sapping, which was evident to the athletes. After the score was 11:8 for Italy, Seidl/Waller took two points in a row. At 14:10 for Italy, the first match point was played, which Seidl was able to fend off with a great block. Austria had to admit defeat at the next attempt of the Italians and lost the set 15:11.
Italy is therefore in the finals of the A1 CEV BeachVolley Nations Cup 2022 and will play against Norway for the gold medal on Sunday at 16:30.