Volleyball: Poland defeats Portugal in European Championships opener

Poland successfully started their men’s volleyball European Championships crusade. The co-hosts of the tournament won 3:1 (25:16, 22:25, 25:16, 25:19) against Portugal in the southern city of Kraków.

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The Polish volleyball team lost to France in the quarterfinals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Poles, who are double World Champions from 2014...

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The hosts wanted to redeem themselves after another Olympic underperformance. All in all, the first official game after Tokyo was won without major problems. Yet, despite a tangible difference of levels, Poland lost one set. Nevertheless, coach Vital Heynen seemed to have predicted such a turn of events.

“This match went as I expected. Of course I would like to win in straight sets, but it was not a very realistic dream. Good and bad moments happen. In the second set we made eight service mistakes and seven in the attack. Lots of points. In that case it's hard to win a set. Maybe it was not a normal game? But it was to be expected from what happened to us in the last few weeks,” said Heynen, adding that the fatigue after an Olympic tournament is something not to underestimate.

“The fans are something extra in this tournament. Previously, there was no such atmosphere, we had to motivate ourselves. Today, the fans’ support let us solve the problems we had in the second set,” said Bartosz Kurek, who registered 18 points in the game.

On Saturday, Poland will face Serbia in their second group match.

The championships are organised by four countries - Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Finland.

Golden youngsters

Meanwhile, Poland should not worry about the fresh blood at the national level, as the Polish U-19 team became the world champions after defeating Bulgaria 3:0 (25:20, 25:19, 25:19) in the final in Tehran, Iran. Tytus Nowik, who scored 20 points against the Bulgarians, was the MVP of the tournament.

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