Italy crowned world champion at the expense of Poland

After losing the first set, Italy managed to turn the tide of the match by defeating Poland at home in the World Championship final in Katowice. In a room fully won over to their opponent’s cause, the Italians chained three sets to win 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-20). Double title holders, Poland had eliminated Brazil (3-2) on the wire, Saturday in the semi-finals.

With only one player over 26 and several talents, the Italians put an end to Polish domination in this competition, after the titles of 2014 and 2018, and confirmed their European title last year, already in the Saucer ( literal translation of Spodek) from Katowice. They also reconnect with the glorious world past of their elders, the « Fenomeni », titled 3 times consecutively in 1990, 1994 and 1998.

Yet it was the other captain, Bartosz Kurek, who set the tone at the start of the game, stringing together incisive attacks and allowing Poland to win the first leg to the rhythm of « raz, dwa, trzy » (one, two , three in Polish) chanted by the public. Nothing seemed to be able to stop the Whites and Reds of the best player of the 2018 World Cup, who started the second set with a scathing 3 to 0.

The second set: the turning point of the match

But at the end of the second set, the Italians were able to tighten the game at the right time, winning 3 points in a row at 20-20 to lead 23-20, then equalize. Despite a final round still disputed, the Poles ended up breaking, as if beaten, like this point lost at 20-17, where none of the three players threw themselves to restart the ball.

The Italians have been unleashed since their victory in the quarter-finals against France (3-2), Olympic champions in Tokyo a year ago, and had not trailed against Slovenia in the semi-finals (3-0).

The youth in power

This team hovers, carried by its passion, its youth – only one player is over 26 – and the ambition to reconnect with its glorious past. Led by her 20-year-old nugget, Alessandro Michieletto, by the other receiver-attacker Daniele Lavia and by the sharp Yuri Romano, she completely turned the situation around against the Poles. To these attackers, we must add the setter and captain of the team: Simone Giannelli, undoubtedly the best player in this final, under the eyes of his coach Ferdinando De Giorgi, setter for the « Fenomeni ».

This young crew flew towards an unexpected victory: after reaching the final of the World Cup, a performance they had not achieved since 1998, they won the fourth title in their history.

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