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MILAN, Italy (Kyodo) Japan got off to a losing start at the men’s volleyball world championship on Saturday after a comprehensive straight-sets defeat to host Italy.

The Italians took control from the start of the Pool A game and gave the home fans packed into Mediolanum Forum plenty to cheer about, cruising to a 25-20, 25-16, 25-14 victory.

Alessandro Fei led the Italians, who were fourth at the Beijing Olympics, with 18 points while Kunihiro Shimizu scored 15 points for the Japanese.

“We had many problems in reception from the beginning and we did not manage to recover,” shrugged Japan coach Tatsuya Ueta.

Japan captain Kota Yamamura added, “We knew this match against the host was going to be difficult and we are sorry we couldn’t manage to make the most out of the game.”

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