March 22, 2023

Poland was able to maintain their momentum in their quest to win a third straight FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship title.

The defending champions earned a 3-2 victory over Brazil in an exciting semifinal matchup in Katowice on Saturday. The score was 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 21-25, and 15-12. This victory gave them the first ticket to Sunday’s gold medal match.

In the second semifinal, which is slated to begin at 21:20 local time on Saturday, Italy will play Slovenia to determine the other participant in the final (19:20 GMT).

Bartosz Kurek, the opposite for Poland and the team’s captain, finished with 24 points to lead all scorers. His point total included 21 spikes with a success rate of 53% in attack, two kill blocks, and an ace. His teammates on the outside, Brazilian outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli was his team’s most prolific player. His teammates on the outside, Kamil Semeniuk and Aleksander Sliwka, added another 23 and 19, respectively, to the total. He was able to earn 18 points before sustaining an injury toward the conclusion of the fourth set, which forced him to sit out the remainder of the match.

Sliwka made a strong impression early on in the first set as he took a 5-2 lead by scoring back-to-back points with a pulverizing swing and a big block. However, Brazil tied the score at 8-8 and then took the lead for good on an ace served up by Lucarelli at 11-10. They maintained the pressure in attack to increase the lead to as high as four points, and they achieved a triple set point at 24-21 after Yoandy Leal’s hit was effective. Poland rebutted the first two challenges, but Brazil won the set 25-23 thanks to a net violation that was caught on video challenge.

Early on in the second set, Poland established themselves as the team to beat by controlling the scoreboard. Following a spectacular block by the middle player, Mateusz Bieniek, which gave the team a 9-6 lead, the deficit grew to a maximum of three points. In the second half of the match, the home team appeared to have found their rhythm and be successful. After a string of five points, they took a 17-10 lead, which they maintained until their other middle blocker, Jakub Kochanowski, shaped up the 25-18 finish with a spectacular stuff.

Early on in the third set, Brazil had a lead of two points thanks to their superior play. The ace that Bieniek served brought the score back to 7-7. After Brazil had grabbed another two-point lead, it was Bieniek who, once again, wiped it out with a great block, tying the score at 12-12.

Soon after that, Semeniuk took over with two sizzling pipe strokes in a row to put Poland in the lead, 15-13. With the momentum shifting in their favor, the Europeans were able to maintain control of the set throughout its entirety. They raced out to a commanding lead, which was eventually put away by Semeniuk with a hit off the block for the final score of 25-20.

The fourth set was marked by a back-and-forth battle for the lead, with the margin between the two players never exceeding two points until the score was tied 16-16. Despite this, Brazil scored five consecutive goals to take a 21-16 lead thanks to Lucarelli’s dominance in front of the net and the Polish team’s numerous unforced errors.

Despite the fact that Lucarelli had to leave the court due to an injury, the South American team was able to maintain their lead until Bruno Rezende, the South American team’s substitute setter and captain, blocked the ball to force a tie-breaker at 25-21.

However, Leal responded with a successful spike and an ace to square the score at 3-3. Kurek started the fifth set off with two consecutive kills, giving him a 2-0 lead.

However, a three-point run that included two more kills by Kurek and a massive block by Kochanowski between those points put the home team in front with a 7-4 lead. That didn’t last long, as soon enough the score was knotted up once more at 7 all. The race remained close until 12-12, but after that, all attention was focused on Poland. After Sliwka’s off-the-block hit brought match point closer, Bieniek’s block pushed the score to 15-12 and clinched the victory for his team.

It was impossible for there to have been a more tense match. It was completely out of this world! Sliwka yelled something after the match was over. “We are beyond ecstatic. It’s hard to realize that this is the final round of the competition. We want to thank everyone who supported us today, but we still have one more game to play tomorrow and will give it our all then as well.

At the World Championship, which is taking place right now, the top teams from all over the world are competing against one another. We have an incredible debt of gratitude to our supporters. I am at a loss for words to adequately express it. They are of the highest quality! They are incredible, and we will continue to rely on them even tomorrow.

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