Nanjing, China, July 5, 2019 – China and Italy will clash on Friday for the last semifinal spot available in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. The host team lost to Turkey in four sets, while Italy dropped their match against European rivals Turkey in straight sets, forcing a decider to complete the final four cast this year.

China finished in third place last year, beating Brazil in straight sets, while Italy are newcomers of the VNL Final Six. China rallied from two sets down to win 3-2 in their preliminary round encounter at this year’s competition, ending China’s losing run against Italy at world level.

The winning team will join Turkey, Brazil and the United States, following their respective victories in the first two days of final round pool play.

China – Italy (July 5, 2019)

• China have a W22-L20 record against Italy in major world level competitions.
• China defeated Italy 3-2 in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League preliminary round on 6 June, after trailing by two sets. This ended a five-match losing run for China against Italy at world level.
• Paola Ogechi Egonu delivered 40 points for Italy in that 3-2 defeat in the 2019 VNL, one shy of the VNL record set by Poland’s Malwina Smarzek who won 41 against Bulgaria on 28 May 2019.
• Egonu (27) also scored the most points in the only other VNL encounter between China and Italy, a 3-1 Italian win in the 2018 preliminary round.
• China could defeat Italy in back-to-back world level matches for the first time since a 3-0 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and a 3-1 at the 2017 World Grand Prix.
• The winner of this match will join Turkey, Brazil and United States in the 2019 VNL semi-finals.

• China lost 3-1 against Turkey in their first final round match in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League.
• China finished in third place in the inaugural edition of the VNL in 2018. They beat Brazil in straight sets in the third-place decider (25-18, 25-22, 25-22).
• China could lose successive VNL matches for the first time since losing their opening two in the 2019 preliminary round.
• Only United States (18) have won more VNL matches in straight sets than China (16).
• Ting Zhu (119), Xinyue Yuan (119) and Xiangyu Gong (117) are leading China in terms of scoring in the 2019 VNL.
• Yanhan Liu (21) scored the most points for China in the 3-1 defeat against Turkey.

• Italy could reach the Volleyball Nations League semi-finals for the first time. Last year, they finished the preliminary round in sixth place but missed out on a spot in the final round as ninth-placed China took their ticket as hosts of the final phase.
• On their debut in the VNL final round, Italy lost in straight sets to Turkey on 4 July. Paola Ogechi Egonu (12) was the only Italy player to reach 10 points that match.
• Italy can suffer three successive defeats for the second time in the VNL after a run of four defeats in their opening four fixtures in last year’s edition.
• Elena Pietrini (208) and Indre Sorokaite (203) are Italy’s leading points scorers in the 2019 VNL. Last year, Paola Ogechi Egonu (180) won most points for Italy in the VNL.
Only Turkey’s Zehra Gunes (25) has more aces in the 2019 VNL than Sorokaite (24).

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