08. 06. 2018

VNL M: Poland outplay Italy in high-strung duel, Kubiak sidelined up to one month! Brazil take lead in the standings

Source: volleyball.world; Photo: fivb.org

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Poland outplayed Italy in the opening game of the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League - Week 3.



Germany have beaten the odds for the second time in five days. After crushing world champions Poland at Week 2 closing, Andrea Giani’s wards shocked No.2 at the FIVB Ranking, United States, in what seemed like a cat-and-mouse game for most of the time, with a straight-set win 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-13), in Ottawa, Canada. Thus, Germany reached their third win in the tournament. The USA suffered their second loss but, which might be worrying to their head coach John Speraw, it was the second failure in a row. David Sossenheimer top-scored for Germany with 13 points while Noah Baxpöhler served 5 of team’s 11 aces. Jake Langlois noted 12 points for the U.S. team.

Canada are back into top 5 with a clear victory over Australia, partially 25-19, 26-24, 25-19, their fourth in a row. Stephen Maar was the man of the match for the winning side with 18 points. Paul Carroll delivered 15 for Australia.



Poland and Italy staged a high-strung encounter in Pool 10, in Osaka, Japan, which ultimately went into the favor of the current world champions in the tie-break, partially 25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 29-31, 15-10. In a duel of the two teams deprived of help from several key players, including best scorers, Ivan Zaytsev for Italy and Michał Kubiak for Poland, each team confidently clinched a set apiece before Poland established even bigger domination in the third set (16-10, 20-12) to close it at 25-17. The fiercest battle was seen in the fourth set in which Poland managed to tie at 16-16 after trailing by five (15-10). The Polish players even got themselves a 21-20 which led up to a thrilling finish. Poland had one of several match balls at 29-28 but mostly thanks to Gabriele Nelli, Italy made a 3-0 run to tie at 2-2. Poland built up a three-point lead at the beginning of the tie-break (5-2). The “Azzurri” came back at 6-6 but a 3-0 run from Poland right after that cut down their wings. A disturbing news struck Polish fans before the match. As FIVB reported, Michał Kubiak might be sidelined for 30 to 60 days due to undergoing a chronic conjunctivitis treatment. Artur Szalpuk top-scored for the winning side with 24 points. Piotr Nowakowski made 5 kill blocks of Poland’s 15. Gabriele Nelli tallied 29 points for Italy.

Bulgaria defeated hosts Japan to get back onto winning track in the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League. Following a thrilling clash between Poland and Italy, Bulgaria improved a bit their Nations League campaign, that was rather disappointing so far, by beating Japan at Osaka Municipal Central Gym in straight sets, partially 25-14, 25-21, 29-27. Nikolay Uchikov led Bulgaria scorers with 16 points while 18-year-old opposite Yuji Nishida top-scored for Japan with 11 points.


Both Iran and China came to the Russian city of Ufa with a 2-4 record in the tournament but Iran was the one who managed to improve theirs after surpassing the rivals with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-15) in Pool 11. Amir Ghafour notched 19 points for Iran but what about blocking performance of  Saman Faezi – 7 kill blocks! This was the first match of China in the tournament in which Jiang Chuan was not their top scorer. It was Zhang Jinying who delivered 16 points. 


Russia could not do more than to clinch only one set against Brazil, the rivals with whom they had duels that were very often described as epic, like the one in the 2012 London Olympics final. A support from the crowd in Ufa was not enough for „Zbornaya“ who were literally blown away in the first two sets and, especially, in the fourth in which Brazil had 17-10! As for the only set in which they prevailed, the third set, Russia converted only the fourth set ball as the „Seleção“ players fought bravely until the very end. All in all, the game finished partially 25-21, 25-20, 25-27 and 25-18 in favor of the South American side for which Wallace de Souza delivered 22 points while Maurício Borges served 4 of team’s 11 aces. Konstantin Bakun scored 20 points for Russia. Ilya Vlasov made 4 kill blocks. Brazil took over the lead in the standings and will keep it until Day 2 of Week 3.


Serbia improved their chances to take part in the Final Six but still have to work hard to achieve this goal. Serbia overcame a sloppy start to the match against Argentina (20-25) before winning the second set after a huge fight (25-23) and demolishing the South American rivals in the third (25-15). The fifth set was hanging over the heads of Serbian players for the fourth time in a row in the tournament as they trailed 20-17 in the fourth period. But, the team from the Balkans gathered their momentum to make an 8-2 run and put an end to the encounter in the French city of Aix-en-Provence. Dražen Luburić was the best scorer for Serbia with 20 points. Cristian Poglajen and Facundo Conte poured in 15 points apiece for Argentina.

France presented themselves to the home crowd with an attractive play against South Korea who remained the only side without collecting a single win in the tournament so far – 0-7. The „Team Yavbou“ really made the audience enjoy as its players occasionally devastated the Asian rivals. One detail from the game was particularly striking – at 8-8 in the second set, France set up five kill blocks in a row to detach at 13-8! Jean Patry led the way for France in a straight-set win with 12 points and 75% attack. Jung Ji-Seok scored 10 points for South Korea.

To see complete results, stats, and standings, visit our FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2018 / Male / Seniors page.


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