Winning the first set in a match against Italy allowed Poles – the defending champions – to move to the semi-finals of the volleyball world championships.
The team that won Poland a semi-finals match included Fabian Drzyzga as a server, Michał Kubiak and Artur Szalpuk as receivers, Bartosz Kurek as a hitter, Piotr Nowakowski and Mateusz Bieniak as middle players and Paweł Zatorski as libero.
Although the match as a whole was eventually won by the Italian team 3:2 (14:25, 25:21, 18:25, 25:17, 15:11), winning at least one set was enough for the Poles to advance to the next stage of the competition.
Today the Poles will face the challenging American team. On Friday, while Poland was fighting its way to the semi-finals, the American team played against Brazil, suffering a 0:3 defeat.
This was the only loss for the Americans in this year’s world championships and, according to observers, a tactical one. The team’s coach John Speraw decided to field only reserve players and give the first team a rest.
The history of Polish-American encounters does not bode well for the Poles. The Americans were the only to beat the Poles in the 2014 World Championships. In the years 2014-2018, the Poles faced the American team nine times, winning twice and losing seven times. The most painful defeat at the hands of Americans was the 0:3 match that Poland lost in the Olympics’ volleyball quarterfinals in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
The Polish team will try to break the streak of bad luck today in Turin. The match will be shown by Polish public TV channel (TVP) at 9:05 pm (GMT+2; CET).