Press materials / FIVB / Pictured: Polish national team volleyball players
After the disastrous encounter with the USA, Polish volleyball players beat reigning world champions Italy 3:1 in great style. The Whites and Reds played their best game in the Nations League without a doubt.
Polish volleyball players wanted at all costs to erase the stain after a painful defeat against the United States and at the same time to take revenge for the lost final of the World Cup in 2022, while in Katowice the Italians turned out to be much better, winning 3:1.
However, the performances of Nikola Grbic’s proteges in recent matches, even won, did not allow us to consider the clash with Italy with optimism. In the second week of the Nations League, the Azzurri face the strongest formation and have won every meeting in Rotterdam so far in straight sets.
The start of the competition was very regular. However, the Polish game lacked efficiency in attacking Wilfredo Leon or Bartosz Kurek. The Italians, who made a lot of mistakes on serve, gave us a hand. The Biało-Czerwoni, on the other hand, did very well in this element and after Leon’s service ace they already led at 18:15. From this moment, successful actions from the wing of Bartosz Kurek finally appeared in the game of our volleyball players. The world champions were not helped in the first game even by the excellent performance of Yuriy Romano, who was unstoppable from the start.
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The second set also saw a favorable course for the Whites and Reds, even if they dropped the three-point lead twice. The Italians played better than in the first game, but still gave some free “points” in this element. Nikola Grbic’s charges were improving in attack, and in key moments the block came to the rescue. After an exciting end to the advantage, the Poles won 28:26 and put Italy against the wall.
With a knife to their throat, the Italians entered the third set with some good plays from their captain Simone Giannelli, which gave them a secure lead. Alessandro Michieletto also had a good part of the game, supporting his side in attacking block and on points. Coach Grbić tried to salvage the situation with changes, but the world champions didn’t let go of the comfortable advantage in their hands.
The fourth set was a tense battle from start to finish. The Poles were effective on both the right and left flanks. In the middle of the set, the Biało-Czerwoni, thanks to Norbert Huber, very well disposed that day in service, are ahead of their opponents by no less than 7 points and from 3:14 p.m. it becomes 9:14 p.m.! His serves forced errors from Italian receivers, who were used in great style by either Leon or Kurek. As if that wasn’t enough, Jakub Kochanowski, the second center for the Polish national team, finished the game with a service ace. It was his next great game in Rotterdam, confirming his high and stable disposition.
The next tournament will be contested by the Poles in the Philippines from July 4-9, and their rivals will be Slovenia, Brazil, Canada and so far undefeated Japan.
Men’s Nations League 2023
Italy – Poland 1:3 (7:25 p.m., 10:28 p.m., 10:19 p.m., 8:25 p.m.)
Italy: Giannelli, Romano, Russo, Galasi, Lavia, Michieletto, Scanferla (libero) and Anzani, Rinaldi, Sbertoli, Federici (libero)
Poland: Łomacz, Kurek, Kochanowski, Huber, Leon, Fornal, Zatorski (libero) and Bednorz, Firlej, Bołądź
Nations League 2023
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