Italy is reaching even deeper into its reserves this week, giving starting setter Simone Giannelli the week off. Also absent are Ivan Zaytsev, Oleg Antonov, and Simone Buti, who will miss their 2nd-straight week of action.
Zaytsev still leads Italy in scoring, in spite of only playing in 6 of their 9 games.
Italy appears to be focused on the World Championships at the end of the summer that they’ll host – they currently have a 5-4 record and are just 1 win short of a spot in the Final 6, but have chosen to rest 4 primary starters anyway (Buti isn’t on the expanded 21-man roster and so isn’t actually available for the tournament).
With Giannelli out, Michele Baranowicz joins the team. Luca Spirito is the team’s primary backup setter and will likely get the start in Giannelli’s absence.
Italy plays in Seoul, South Korea in week 4, where they’ll face China, South Korea, and Australia. Those happen to be the 14th, 15th, and 16th teams in the 16-team tournament, with a combined 4 wins and 13 set wins in 27 matches.