Italy Wins World Championship After 24 Years
Italy’s 24-year wait for their fourth world title came to an end on Sunday, as the Italians silenced a packed Spodek Arena in Katowice and triumphed at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2022 by defeating the defending champions Poland 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-20) in the gold medal match of the 20th edition of the tournament. This victory brought an end to Italy’s wait for their fourth world title.
A few hours earlier, Brazil overcame Slovenia 3-1 to win bronze and take their place on the podium for the sixth consecutive time at a World Championship. Prior to this, Brazil had won gold in 2002, 2006, and 2010, as well as silver in 2014 and 2018.
The Italians, who also came out on top in 1990, 1994, and 1998, took home their fourth championship with this victory. Their nation is presently second in the most victories in the sport, trailing only the former Soviet Union, who won the World Championship in 1949, 1952, 1960, 1962, 1978, and 1982. Their country’s most recent victory came in 1982.
Simone Giannelli, the team’s setter and captain, commented that the experience “doesn’t feel genuine.” “When we won the European Championship the previous year, it broke my heart, and I sobbed for hours. However, I am currently in such an euphoric and enthusiastic state that I am unable to cry. I am at a loss for words; all I can do is laugh and smile. I’m extremely proud of my squad, and I’m so glad to be an Italian and a world champion.”
The only Italian to have participated in all four of his country’s victories is the head coach, Ferdinando De Giorgi. He has done it all four times. The 60-year-old veteran served as the team’s setter during the competitions held in 1990, 1994, and 1998.
Subsequently, he led the team to seven triumphs while coaching them from the bench during their run in Poland and Slovenia earlier this year.
Alessandro Michieletto, who is only 20 years old but plays outside hitter, felt a unique connection to the victory. After winning the U19 world title in 2019 and the U21 world title in 2018, he now joins a select group of players who have won gold medals at all three levels of competition. This group includes players from Brazil such as Nalbert Bittencourt and Leandro Vissotto, as well as players from Poland such as Jakub Kochanowski and Bartosz Kwolek.
The accomplishments of Michieletto, who is only 20 years old, reflect a very promising time for the Italian national team, which, after winning the European title with an extremely young squad the previous year, secured the world title while starting the gold medal match with six starters age 26 or younger. This is a very promising moment for the Italian national team.
Italy was able to win the gold medal match because to the superb efforts of its three primary offensive players. Daniele Lavia, an outside hitter, led the team to victory with a match-high 19 points, including 16 kills, two blocks, and one ace serve.
A fellow outside hitter, Michieletto, came in immediately after him with 14 points (11 kills, two blocks, and one ace), which was one point higher than the opposite Yuri Roman, who earned all of his 13 points in the form of kills.
Giannelli remarked that the company’s employees make up an impressive group. Simply said, we compete fiercely. Staying in the game and giving it our all is more important than paying attention to the scoreboard or the actions of the opposing team.
We have a lot of fun when we get together to play this game, which we both really enjoy. I really hope this is the beginning of something amazing. We have a large number of young men who are quite good, and we need to continue maturing as a group in order to develop something significant. It’s a very exciting time for us, but we can’t let our eyes leave the road ahead.
Outside hitter Aleksander Sliwka racked up a total of 12 points for Poland, with nine kills and three blocks. He was Poland’s leading scorer. Another outside hitter, Kamil Semeniuk, achieved the double-digit point total with 11 points, all of which came from kills.
The Italian team got out to a better start in the match for the gold medal, soon creating a lead of 4-2; however, the Polish team rallied back and overtook them at 9-8 after Mateusz Bieniek spiked to halt a rally. Lavia put Italy back in the lead with a pair of kills in a row, bringing the score to 14-13.
Michieletto served an ace that put the Italians in a position to win the set at 21-17, but Bieniek had a nice serving run that finished with an ace of his own to square the score at 21-21. Sliwka came through in the clutch for Poland in the end, recording a kill and an ace to help Poland win the first set 25-22.
The Poles maintained a terrific rhythm at the beginning of the second set and scored the first three points of the game. The Italian coach Ferdinando De Giorgi requested a timeout, and his team was able to fight back and equal the score at 7-7 with an ace by Lavia.
While Lukasz Kaczmarek was on the court, the home team got some separation again, bringing the score to 16-13. This prompted De Giorgi to call a second timeout for his team. Once again, the change had an effect, as the Italians scored three consecutive goals to draw the game. Following strong play from both teams, the Italians were able to take the set 25-21 thanks to a tremendous block by Simone Anzani.
In spite of the fact that they won the second set, the Italians struggled to get off to a good start in the third, and after Michieletto spiked out, the Poles took the lead, 7-4. The team regained their composure, seized the lead at 9-8 after the Polish captain Bartosz Kurek made a mistake, and increased their lead to 14-12 with Michieletto’s contribution. The Italian middle blocks were crucial to their team’s success, especially when Roberto Russo scored a series of points that put them in the driver’s seat with a comfortable 19-15 advantage. Anzani delivered a powerful shot, which resulted in the finish of the set with a score of 25-18.
When Tomasz Fornal spiked out at 9-6, Italy were able to take a three-point lead, which they maintained until the end of the fourth set. A few plays later, their lead was increased to 12-7 thanks to a huge block by Anzani, which also put an end to the Spodek’s contributions. The Italians did not let up and maintained control of the match until the very end, when Bieniek served at the net to give the Southern Europeans a victory by a score of 25-20. The lead for the Italians was cut to three points (13-10) by an ace that was served by Kurek, which gave the Polish team a glimmer of hope.
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