The clubs’ season finished on Saturday, but the best players in the world have no time to rest. The World Men’s Championships in Budapest begin in eleven days.
The national teams have been finishing their preparations. This evening, reigning World Champion Italy and Croatia faced off in a friendly match in Trieste. The Italians celebrated a 15:13 win after a penalty shootout.
Alessandro Campagna, Italy’s head coach has already announced the roster for the World Championships.
Friendly match, Trieste
Italy – Croatia 15:13 (2:3,3:4, 5:2, 1:2, PSO 4:2)
Italy: Echenique 3, Dolce 2, Di Fulvio 1, Damonte 1, Fondelli 1, Cannella 1, Marziali 1, N.Presciutti 1.
Croatia: Kharkov 3, Marinic-Kragic 2, Fatovic 1, Krapic 1, Lazic 1, Zuvela 1, Paparic 1, Basic 1.
Penalty shootout: Damonte, Fondelli, Presciutti, Di Fulvio for Italy, Zuvela, Krapic for Croatia.
The game was quite interesting. The Croats had a 7:5 lead at halftime. Shortly after the middle break, the hosts leveled at 7:7. Still, the Croats regained an advantage (8:7, 9:8), but the World champions entered the final period leading 10:9. Midway through the fourth quarter, Croatia went in front again (11:10). Fondelli scored an equalizer and the match entered the shootout.
Italy’s roster for Budapest
Before the friendly game in Trieste, the home team’s head coach Alessandro Campagna picked 13 players who will represent Italy in Budapest.
The team is significantly rejuvenated.
Only six of 13 players who participated in the Tokyo Olympics are on Italy’s roster: Del Lungo, Nicosia, Di Fulvio, N.Presciutti,Dolce, Echenique.
Compared to Tokyo, Figari, Velotto, Figlioli, Luongo, Aicardi, Renzuto Iodice and Bodegas are missing. The latter will play for France from August, while Iodice is reserve.
Five players will debut at the major competitions – Damonte, Cannella, Bruni, Marziali and the best scorer of the 2021 World U20 Championships Iocchi Gratta.
Goalkeepers: Marco Del Lungo (Pro Recco), Gianmarco Nicosia (Telimar). Field players: Edoardo Di Somma, Vincenzo Dolce (both Brescia), Francesco Di Fulvio, Nicholas Presciutti, Giacomo Cannella, Gonzalo Echenique (all Pro Recco), Luca Damonte (Ferencvaros), Lorenzo Bruni, Andrea Fondelli, Matteo Iocchi Gratta (all Savona), Luca Marziali (Telimar). Reserves: Vincenzo Renzuto and Jacopo Alesiani (both Brescia).
A reserve will join the team if somebody of the 13 players tests positive for Covid.
Croatia and Italy will face off once more before the World Championships. The team will meet in Pula next week. Ivica Tucak, the head coach of Croatia, will announce the roster just before the trip to Budapest.