Egonu-O in Italy…local media “Korea, not to be underestimated”
The South Korean women’s volleyball team, led by Cesar Hernandez, will face Italy in their first qualifying match for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Italian team has been in disarray lately, with several key players dropping out of the roster. They are also wary of Korea.
Korea and Italy will face off in the early morning hours of Sunday in Łódź, Poland, in the first match of Group C of the Olympic Qualifiers. Korea, ranked 36th in the FIVB world, will face Italy, ranked fifth.
A total of 24 teams will compete in three groups. There will be simultaneous matches in Poland, China, and Japan. South Korea will start against Italy, followed by Poland, Germany, USA, Colombia, Thailand, and Slovenia. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the Paris Olympics.먹튀검증
Group C is categorized as the group of death. Italy, as well as FIVB’s No. 3 USA and No. 7 Poland, are expected to fight for the two tickets.
The Italians are coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish at the recent European Championships. The ‘defending champions’ have been criticized for their recent performance.
The team is missing a number of key players. Injured setter Alessia Oro, veteran libero Monica De Gennaro, middle blocker Christina Kirikela and outside hitter Caterina Bosetti were not included in the 14-player roster. Middle blocker Sarah Pach, who tore her ACL in her right knee in 2021, also appeared to be returning to the squad, but that didn’t happen.
Italian outlet OA Sport also commented on the Italian roster for the Olympic qualifiers, saying, “There are many players who have been left out of the squad due to technical decisions, injuries, internal rifts, etc. The team would have the best combination of players if it was just the ones left off the roster.”
Nevertheless, Italy has built a team around veteran outside hitter Miriam Cilla. Outside hitters Elena Pietri, Alice Degradi and Francesca Villani, setters Francesca Bossio and Giulia Gennari, and middle blockers Marina Rubian, Anna Danesi, Federica Squarzini and Linda Nwakalo. The apogee included Sylvia Nwakalo and Ekaterina Antropova. Liberos Eleonora Persino and Beatrice Parisi also traveled to Łódź, Poland.
Ahead of the match against South Korea, Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport said: “We have to put the European Championship disappointment and the controversy in the national team behind us and focus on the Olympic qualifiers. We have a clear goal of qualifying for Paris 2024,” said Gazzetta. “South Korea is a team that is technically inferior to Italy but cannot be underestimated. They finished fourth at Tokyo 2020. Of course, they finished 16th in the VNL.”
The Korean team left for Łódź, Poland, on Nov. 14. This year, the team will compete in the VNL, the Asian Championships, the Olympic Qualifiers, and the Hangzhou Asian Games. Cesar Hoda has been on a downward spiral since the Tokyo Olympics. It will be interesting to see how he performs at the Olympic qualifiers.