Volleyball: Poland beats World Cup host

In their second game of the men’s FIVB World Cup held in Japan, Poland defeated the hosts 3:1 (25:23, 25:17, 19:25, 25:17).

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Vital Heynen decided to treat the first matches of the World Cup as a training ground and let those, who had not competed in the recently concluded European Championships play. However, the squad was bolstered by Grzegorz Łomacz, Bartosz Kwolek, and, most notably, coming back from recovery Bartosz Kurek.

The first set was the most tied part of the game. The Japanese managed to stay within an arm’s reach until the end, yet to no avail, as the favourites won 25:23.

After an initial advantage to Japan in the second set, Poland gained momentum and built a remarkable advantage, at some point, leading 19:8. Although the hosts narrowed the gap a little, they were trounced 17:25, and found themselves on the verge of defeat.

However, Japan bounced back in the third set and, inspired by the loud home crowd, shocked the world champions from 2018, winning 25:19.

It turned out that it was the hosts’ swan song, as their attacking players subsided considerably in the fourth set. Poland had a seven-point lead halftime through the set and ultimately won 25:17 and the whole match 3:1.

After this game, most of the players from the Polish league will come back to the country. The reinforcements are on their way to the upcoming Friday match against the US, several first-choice athletes who won bronze at the European Championships are set to play.

With a 6:1 set ratio and nine more games to go, Poland is second, behind Brazil.