2022 Volleyball World Cup: Italy beat Poland in the final to win the league title for the first time in 24 years

For the first time in 12 years, non-Poland and Brazil met in the final of the World Volleyball Championship. Although, of course, the match for gold was not without the Poles. The red-and-whites at home went for the third historical title in a row, but they were stopped by the young Italian team, which had already taken out the reigning Olympic champions at this tournament. Squadra Azzurra beat the Poles 3-1 and won the first World Cup victory in 24 years!

old abacus

For both teams, this match was extremely important. The Poles wanted to take the third championship in a row, previously only Italy and Brazil managed to do this. In addition, it was the first chance for Poland coach Nikola Grbic to win World Cup gold as a team coach. With Serbia in 2018, he did not succeed – he had to be content with fourth place.

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The Italians, on the other hand, intended to win the first title since 1998, when they beat Yugoslavia (3: 0) in the World Cup final. Then even Ferdinando de Giorgi, now coaching the Italian national team, he himself went to the site. For the Squadra Azzurra mentor, the match with Poland was also fundamental because in 2017 de Giorgi led the Polish team for several months, but after a series of failures, including 10th place at the home European Championship, he was fired. So in some way the game was supposed to be a settling of his personal scores. In the end, everything worked out just fine.

Both the Poles and the Italians approached the final match in optimal shape. Both teams went through dangerous opponents on their way to the gold match. Italy had the match of life in the quarterfinals, where they beat the current Olympic champion France in five sets, and for Poland the main meeting was in the semifinals with Brazil (3:2), which became a kind of analogue of the previous World Cup finals. There was only one match left to win.

final match

final match

Photo: en.volleyballworld.com

italian domination

In general, the victory of the Italians was extremely surprising. Firstly, they played away, where almost 10 thousand spectators supported the Poles in the stands. Secondly, Ferdinando de Giorgi, a year after the failure at the Olympics, built a new young team, in which 12 out of 14 players played for the first time at the World Cup! Yes, of course, it is pointless to deny that the Italians have considerable strength, they are still the current European champions, but it seemed that the advantage should have been on the side of Poland.

The first game of the World Cup finals began on an equal footing, the teams went “point for point”, especially without letting each other go forward. Only by the middle of the set the Poles managed to create a gap of two points – 13:11. However, soon Bartosz Kurek made a mistake, after which Italy requested a video review, and the judges gave the blue two points – 14:16. After that, Grbic took time out to rebuild the game, but it didn’t help. The Italians, on the contrary, went into the lead. Nevertheless, the Poles managed to pull themselves together and give a fantastic ending to the set: at first they quickly equalized the score – 21:21, and then completely won the game – 25:21.

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At the beginning of the second set, the red-whites looked better, which allowed them to lead by three points. However, the blues quickly rallied and were able to level the score – 7:7. The teams were equal for a long time, but towards the end of the game, the Poles managed to take the lead – 16:13. Ferdinando de Giorgi took a timeout, after which the Italians broke into the game with renewed vigor. They not only leveled the gap, but also managed to win the set – 25:21.

At the same time, right before the end of the game, a fight almost broke out between the teams. The fact is that the Polish volleyball players and the coaching staff considered that the ball at Squadra Azzurra flew out of the site. The arbitrators did not react to this, and the game continued. Only after a pause did the Poles request a video preview. That’s just the judges did not check the departure of the ball, but a possible mistake by the Polish team and the alleged kick of one of the Italian volleyball players with a foot on the ball. As a result, the Poles turned out to be wrong and the Italians were awarded an important point. Between the teams began a rough verbal skirmish, fortunately, did not end in a fight.

In the third set, at first the advantage was on the side of the Poles – 7:4, but soon the Italians were able to seize the initiative. For a while, the red-whites managed to keep up with the opponent’s pace and prevent them from going into a strong lead, but soon the blues took off. The result – 25:18 in favor of the guests.

Everything was decided by the fourth set. The Italians took a solid lead from the first minutes – 10:6. The Poles tried to keep up and at some point were close to leveling the score, but the Italians were unstoppable – 25:20.

Italy is world champion

Italy is world champion

Photo: en.volleyballworld.com

bittersweet match

This victory for the Italian national team was historic, not only because of the 24-year break. The Blues have climbed to second place in the number of World Cup titles in history. The first is the USSR, which has six championships.

“This day was memorable because of what we did on the court,” said Simone Giannelli, who became the MVP of the tournament. – Today we suffered a lot, it was hard, but I am proud of these guys, they are really wonderful. The guys followed me and I followed them. I want to thank those who are not here, those who played with us in recent months and who contributed to this result. We were extraordinary, I think the experience of defeat in the League of Nations helped here. Let’s celebrate this feat. Thank you de Giorgi for what he was able to give us, following him is often difficult, but he got us so far.”

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Does Ukraine have a chance to pick up the trophy? volleyball world championship playoffs

De Giorgi himself thanked the team, stating that the love of the blue jersey is at the heart of the Italian team’s success.

The Poles, in turn, admitted that the Italians were head and shoulders above them in the 2022 World Cup final. Marcin Janusz said that he had a “bitter-sweet” aftertaste from the match: on the one hand, there is a World Cup medal, on the other, it is not gold. Bartosz Kurek agrees with him.

“We just lost in a purely volleyball way,” added Kurek. “Sometimes you have to stand in front of a mirror and say to yourself: “Today they were better than us.” They were better on the court, they did some things better than us. Why? This is material for analysis, because I know that we, the players and our staff, are not the people who will accept this defeat and just go through it. In fact, in the future we will demand much more from each other.”

Despite different emotions from the tournament, each team will receive a nice cash bonus, albeit not the highest one. For the victory at the 2022 World Cup, the Italian team will receive $ 200 thousand (about 12 million rubles) from the FIVB, the Polish team – $ 125 thousand (about 7.5 million rubles).

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