Italy reached Gold in the 2015 WEVZA U19 Men’s Championship celebrated in Spanish city of Valladolid. The Azzurri squad overpowered France in the final 3:1 to claim the trophy. In the rest of the encounters, Germany came back to beat Spain in an intense bronze medal match, and Portugal won their second match in a row to finish in fifth position while Belgium avoided the last position with an impressive victory by 3:1 over The Netherlands

Italy claimed the title of the tournament with a great demonstration of power in a convincing victory 3:1 (25-20, 25-15, 23-25,  25-19). Italian and French sides shined in a spectacular final match in Valladolid. The Azzurri confirmed its potential, as demonstrated throughout the tournament, by overpowering their rivals in a convincing exhibition. The Italian side showed a stronger conviction in the first set and their successful balance of attacks and blocks led to the partial victory. In the second set, Italians maintained their level and the title was one step closer for the young representatives of the transalpine country. France recovered and brought uncertainty to the match taking the third period but Italy used their best weapons, with MVP Gianluca Galassi as main reference to ensure the victory in the fourth set and thus become the new WEVZA U19 Men Champions.

Mario Barbiero, coach of Italy said: « We are very happy to win this tournament. For us, this was an important tournament. I think we have played very well and it was a very good preparation for the World Championship. I want to congratulate the organisers and the Royal Spanish Voleyball Federation to make possible a fantastic tournament ».

Olivier Audabram, Coach of France: « We played a very good tournament. We improved our classification from last year and showed a big fighting spirit. We are testing players and I hope to do better the next year ».

Germany came back to beat Spain in another tiebreak 3:2 (25-23 / 21-25 / 13-25 / 25-22 / 15-10). The first set was very tigh, with continuous ties. In the key moments, the German side was more effective to take the lead in the match. Local heroes used the support of their fans and reacted to reverse the scoreboard with two great performances. Germany wanted to avenge the defeat in the pool phase and put all their strength in their intentions to force the tiebreak. In the fifth set, a better start fromthe German side gave Germany the triumph and the bronze medal in Valladolid.

Portugal achieved a great comeback in order to reach the fifth position in the tournament. The Portuguese side won the first set with a very good performance. Despite losing the two following period, young Portuguese reacted to win 3:2 (25-18, 20-25, 19-25, 25-19, 15-9). The Swiss squad had an shaky start, but slowly went to grow up in their game to control the second and third sets with a wide gap. The Portuguese side showed fighting spirit to force the tiebreak and to dominate the last set to earn the fifth place.

Michael Dufaux, coach of Switzerland: « The Tournament was very nice. The organization was fantastic and did a great work. We played under pressure and it was difficult for us to manage it. Every match we played a little bit better, and I expect than the next year we will play our best volleyball ».

Belgium celebrated a great ending of the tournament after an outstanding victory 3:1 (25-23, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23) over the Netherlands. In the first set the scoreboard was balanced until the final rush. Belgium used their opportunities in the key moments and finished a tight set at 25-23. The Netherlands presented a slow start in the second set to ease the work to their neighbour team. The Belgian side went straight for the triumph but could not ensure their advantage 20-16 in the third set. The Netherlands reversed the game to win 23-25. The fourth set followed the same pattern as the first one. Equality, alternations in the scoreboard and a constrained end in which the Belgian team was more successful to clinch the victory.

Joel Banks, coach of Belgium said: “We are very happy because we’ve finished the tournament winning the last match. We need to improve some tactical and technical topics next weeks as a preparation for the World Championship in Argentina. I also want to congratulate the local organisers, they worked very hard, with a big effort, very professionally. The conditions have been very good”.

Han Abbing, coach of The Netherlands said: “We tried to be among the top four teams, but we have played from 5th to 8th. Every day we have played a little bit better. That’s good and positive but today we made too many mistakes”.

Final Standings:

1 – Italy

2- France

3- Germany

4- Spain

5- Portugal

6- Switzerland

7- Belgium

8- Netherlands

Individual Awards

Best Outside Hitter: Thibaut Thoral (France)

Best Outside Hitter 2: Francisco Iribarne (Spain)

Best Middle Blocker: Gianluca Galassi (Italia)

Best Middle Blocker 2: Gabriele Di Martino (Italia)

Best Setter: Leo Meyer (France)

Best Opposite: Maximilian Auste (Germany)

Best Líbero: Luc Parville (France)

MVP: Gianluca Galassi (Italia)

Click here for all the results of the competition.

Click here for the gallery of the tournament.