News ID: 324101
Published: 0946 GMT September 12, 2022

FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship: Italy beats Poland in four-setter for first world title in 24 years

FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship:  Italy beats Poland in four-setter for first world title in 24 years
Italian players celebrate lifting the trophy at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship after a 3-1 victory over Poland in the final in Katowice, Poland, on September 11, 2022.

Sports Desk

Italian people will surely be dejected to see their national team missing from the FIFA World Cup in just over two months’ time, but for now they can relish a first men’s title at the FIVB Volleyball World Championship in 24 years, thanks to a 3-1 victory over Poland.

A day after women’s tennis No. 1 Iga Swiatek lifted the US Open trophy, some 11,000 of adoring Polish fans gathered at Katowice’s Spodek Arena to witness a second sporting achievement for their country in 24 hours, only to see Bartosz Kurek and co. fall to a 22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-20 defeat.

Taking six-time champion Soviet Union out of the equation, Italy is now the most decorated team in the history of the competition with four titles – following triumphs in 1990, 1994 and 1998 – with Brazil and Poland, which was chasing a third successive crown, remaining on three.

Outside hitter Daniele Lavia made the biggest contribution to Monday’s victory for Italy with a game-high 19 points – including two blocks and one ace – while captain Simone Giannelli led the way with yet another exceptional performance as the setter went on to pick the Most Valuable Player award of the event.

The 26-year-old Italian was joined by two other teammates – middle blocker Gianluca Galassi and libero Fabio Balaso – in the Dream Team of the competition.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Giannelli said after the game.

“Last year, when we won the European Championship, I cried a lot. But now I can’t cry because I’m so happy and so excited. I can’t think of anything, I can only smile and laugh. I’m so proud of my team, proud to be Italian and proud to be a world champion,” added the Italian captain, who also claimed the MVP prize in the European Championship.

With 139 positive settings and a success rate of 26.83%, Giannelli was the best in his position throughout the competition in Poland and Slovenia.

He set up his teammates on 11 occasions in the final, while chipping in seven points with five kills and two aces.

Also named in the Dream Team were the Polish trio of Kurek (Best Opposite), Kamil Semeniuk (Best Outside Hitter) and Mateusz Bieniek (Best Middle Blocker), as well as Brazilian outside hitter Yoandy Leal, who finished atop the best scorers’ chart with 125 points.

Having represented the country as a setter in the previous title-winning campaigns, head coach Ferdinando De Giorgi is the only Italian to have been a part of all four titles for his nation, steering his men to a clean sweep of seven wins.

With the world U19 and U21 titles already under his belt, Italian outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto, 20, who scored a second-best 14 in the final, has now joined the club of players with gold medals at all three levels – alongside Brazil’s Nalbert Bittencourt and Leandro Vissotto and Polish pair Jakub Kochanowski and Bartosz Kwolek.


Consolation for Brazil


Earlier in the day, Brazil – beaten by Poland in the previous two finals – came out on top 3-1 (25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 25-18) against Slovenia to take the bronze medal – a sixth consecutive world medal for the South American giant.

In what could probably be a last appurtenance in the Brazilin outfit for the veteran opposite Wallace De Souza, the 35-year-old delivered a match-high 22 points, including a game-winning ace, while Leal contributed another 19.


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