Italy finishes sixth at European Games with 47 medals

(AGI) Baku (Azerbaijan), June 28 - Italy finished sixth at theAzerbaijan European Games. The Italian athletes wereoutperformed by France at the photo finish, despite their 10gold, 26 silver and 11 bronze medals. The last day of thegames closed with a silver medal in beach soccer and a bronzein the women's judo team competition, which is also valid forthe European championship. Coach Massimiliano Esposito's beachsoccer team was beaten by a narrow margin (3-2) by thedefending world champion Russia at the Beach Arena, in front ofthe Italian Federation President Carlo Tavecchio. TheItalian

(AGI) Baku (Azerbaijan), June 28 - Italy finished sixth at theAzerbaijan European Games. The Italian athletes wereoutperformed by France at the photo finish, despite their 10gold, 26 silver and 11 bronze medals. The last day of thegames closed with a silver medal in beach soccer and a bronzein the women's judo team competition, which is also valid forthe European championship. Coach Massimiliano Esposito's beachsoccer team was beaten by a narrow margin (3-2) by thedefending world champion Russia at the Beach Arena, in front ofthe Italian Federation President Carlo Tavecchio. TheItalian team failed to repeat last Thursday's success againstthe Russians, nor did it succeed to speed up the pace of thegame during the third period in order to close the gap. "Weplayed a grand tournament and the team was great. Too bad theylost; we would have done anything to bring home a silvermedal," said Mr Tavecchio. The Italy team started off onthe wrong footing with Russia scoring 2-0 in only two minutes:Shaikov bypassed Del Mestre with a header at 6', andGorchinskiy kicked in the 2-0 shot from only a couple of stepsfrom the goal. For the first time since the beginning of thetournament the Italians failed to score a goal during the firstperiod and Gori was the only one to keep the opposing goaleealert with an overhead kick. After a nice bicycle kick byZurlo, which finished off on the side by a hair's breadth,Russia scored its third goal thanks to a volley by Leonov.Krasheninnikov quickly scored the fourth goal and Italy triedits best to recover during the third period. Gori was awarded apenalty kick from the goal line and scored 3-1 and Ramacciottihad the opportunity to score the 3-2 goal but kicked it toohigh. Frainetti was hypnotised by Bukhlitskiy but bouncedon the ball after it was cleared from the goal and won apenalty kick, which he scored cold-bloodedly. Things startedlooking brighter when Corosiniti got himself expelled for aretaliation foul precisely when the team was at its best andtime was relentlessly advancing towards the final whistle. "Iam nonetheless extremely satisfied and at the end of the matchI told the boys that we achieved a result that will remain onrecord. Very few people would have bet on our medal before thematch," said Italy's coach Massimiliano Esposito. The teamcaptain Francesco Corosiniti felt the same: "It was a greatresult. We always struggled to the utmost and each playerplayed for the team. This is truly an exceptional group." The women's judo team won the bronze medal after beating Russia3-2. This result is worth double because the victory at theBaku tournament is also valid for the European Championship.The final competition had started off disappointingly whenOdette Giuffrida (66 kg), Giulia Quintavalle (73 kg), EdwigeGwend (81kg), Giulia Cantoni (90kg) and Assunta Galeone (+90kg) succeeded to grab the only medal ever won by an Italianteam in a judo competition. (AGI). .