March 22, 2023

From what was most likely Wallace De Souza of Brazil’s final ever match while wearing the jersey of the Brazilian national team, he led his team to a bronze medal at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2022.

This bronze medal was Brazil’s sixth consecutive medal and seventh overall in the history of the sport’s premier competition. The 35-year-old opposite player, who came out of retirement to assist Brazil at this event, was successful in achieving his goal by leading the team to a 3-1 victory (25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 25-18) over Slovenia in the match for the bronze medal, which took place on Sunday in Katowice.

The final match of the World Championship will take place at the sold-out Spodek Arena at 21:00 local time, and it will feature Poland as the host nation taking on Italy as the challenger (19:00 GMT).

The highest point total of the match was 22 and was provided by Wallace, who also won the match with two aces during the fourth set. He was successful in 19 out of 30 spike attacks, which is a success percentage of 58%. Outside hitter Yoandy Leal added another 19 points to the team’s win, and middle blocker Lucas Saatkamp racked up as many as five kill blocks and fired three aces to provide 12 points to the team’s overall score. Stern was the most productive scorer for Slovenia with 17 points to his name and played opposite Toncek.

Stern aced the ball to put them ahead at 9-8, and then pounded the next point from the back row, before setter Dejan Vincic closed off an extremely long rally startling their opponents with a hit on two for 11-8. This five-point run was part of Slovenia’s march towards a 12-8 lead in the first set.

That Slovenian lead, however, did not hold for very long as Brazil responded quickly with an incredible seven-point series on Lucas’s turn to serve, which was garnished with a couple of aces (15-15 and 17-15) on the route to building up an 18-15 gap in the score. Until the very end of the set, replacement setter and captain Bruno Rezende and Leal both scored from the serving line for Brazil (21-17 and 24-18), but it was Flavio Gualberto’s huge block that sealed the deal for Brazil and ended the set with a score of 25-18 in their favor.

In the early stages of the second set, Slovenia fell behind by two points, but because to an ace served by Vincic, they were able to catch up and remain competitive until the score reached 10-10. The Brazilian team never looked back after taking the lead after scoring three straight points on substitute outsides served by Adriano Cavalcante. With Leal serving as the offensive driving force for the South American team, they were able to maintain control of the game and increase their lead to 25-18 before the set was over.

Blocks by Lucas resulted in the first three break points for Brazil (2-0, 4-1, and 6-3), while an ace by middle Alen Pajenk resulted in the first break point for Slovenia (1-0). (4-3). A direct serving point by Bruno increased Brazil’s lead to 11-5, and just when it appeared like the South Americans were well on their way to clinching the match in three sets, Slovenia got themselves up, dusted themselves off, and launched an astonishing comeback.

A run of five consecutive points, capped off by another ace serve from Pajenk, and a hit off the block by Stern brought the game even at 15-15. The Europeans gained the lead for the first time in the match at 17-16 after a Leal assault went out of bounds. Middle Jan Kozamernik then scored an overpass kill to extend their advantage to 18-16. Lucas’s ace brought the score back to even for a brief while at 18-18, but Stern’s ace of his own put Slovenia back in front by two points (22-20). Finally, outside Klemen Cebulj tapped wonderfully to bring set point at 24-21, and captain Tine Urnaut pounded the winner for 25-22.

The fourth set was dominated by Slovenia, who went on a 4-0 lead, but Brazil responded immediately to tie the set at 4-4. Soon after that, Wallace served an ace to make the score 6-5 in Brazil’s favor. Shortly after a massive block made by Lucas brought the score to 14-11, Wallace served up another ace and then followed it up with a hit to the back row to bring the score to 16-11. The epilogue focused entirely on Wallace once more. He earned match point with a hit at a sharp angle, which put the score at 24-18, and then he converted it himself with a pipe shot, which put the score at 25-18. Complete success has been achieved!

“Having another medal brings a lot of meaning to my life. I’m pretty sure this makes the sixth time in a row! Certainly, we had hoped for a better outcome, but despite the fact that we struggled with a number of physical issues throughout the championship and the entire year, we never gave up the battle. This makes us very pleased.

Now we’ve covered everything. “We need to rejoice, value, and be proud of this bronze medal,” the captain, Bruno, stated after the match. “This was a really wonderful group of people with a lot of positive energy. I was trying to assist everyone out and get them motivated, and it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun while competing in this World Championship.

A bronze medal in the World Championship was Brazil’s first ever, bringing their total number of podium finishes to seven. In addition, they have racked up three gold medals and three silver medals throughout the course of their career. The fourth-place finish at the World Championship was Slovenia’s best-ever showing at the event.

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