The reigning European champions, Poland, defeated co-hosts Slovenia in the second semifinal of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship on Saturday in Katowice, Poland. The score of the match was 25-21, 25-22, and 25-21. The match was played in Poland. Three-time FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship winners Italy will face defending champions Poland in the match for the gold medal.
After a gap of 24 years, the defending European champions are back in the gold medal match.
On Sunday, at 21.00 local time in Katowice, the Italians and the Poles, who have both previously won the competition three times, will compete against one another for the title of the 20th edition of the flagship event of international volleyball. It will be the 28th time that the European giants compete against one another in major international competition, and the Poles have a better record overall, having won 16 of those previous matches.
For the first time since 1998, when the country’s golden generation won its third consecutive title, the team coached by Ferdinando De Giorgi dominated Slovenia in their semifinal match, outscoring their continental rivals in kills (41 to 36), benefiting from more errors (24 to 17), tying in aces (two to each side), and ranking slightly behind in blocks.
“It’s unbelievable,” said setter and captain Simone Giannelli. “I honestly didn’t think we could win this game 3-0 because Slovenia is a very strong team and I have a lot of respect for them.” I’m thrilled with the outcome and with our team. We are a young team, and I believe we have a bright future ahead of us. But we have a final coming up, and we need to concentrate on that. It will be a challenging match for us, but we will do our best to compete.”
Daniele Lavia, a 22-year-old outside hitter, led the semifinal match in scoring with 15 points. He scored all of his points in kills while hitting at a 47.84% efficiency rate. Yuri Roman, his opposite, had 12 (ten kills, one block, and one ace), while outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto had nine (eight kills, one block).
Klemen ebulj, Slovenia’s outside hitter, led the way with 14 points (11 kills, three blocks). Tine Urnaut, team captain and fellow outside hitter, had 11 kills and one ace, and 20-year-old Rok Moi, who came off the bench in the opposite position, had nine (all in kills).
Poland Slovenia 2022 FIVB Men’s World Championship schedule and results
In the opening set, Italy had a good start and swiftly expanded its lead to 7-1. Slovenia reduced the gap to one point at 13-12 after Michieletto spiked out after Moi’s entry had evened the score. The Italians were able to regain a comfortable lead (19-14) thanks to a few blocks from middle blocker Simone Anzani and Roman, and even though the Slovenians rallied with an ace from captain Urnaut, the European champions were still able to prevail 25-21.
No team managed to establish a lead of more than two points in the second set, which started out more evenly. When Lavia tooled the Slovenian block to cap a protracted rally and make the score 15-12, Italy began to gain the upper hand. The Italians won the set 25-22 following a failed serve, despite the Slovenians’ valiant efforts to close the gap.
Italy grabbed control early in the third set, as it did in the first, with Anzani blocking in the center to give his team a 4-0 lead. Slowly recovering, the Slovenians relied on back-to-back blocks from ebulj to tie the set at 16 points. However, in a transition play, Roman deposited the ball on the Slovenian floor, giving the Italians a two-point advantage at 19-17. With a strong spike, the opposition also earned the game-winning point, 25-21.
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