March 22, 2023

In front of thousands of supporters in the nation’s capital city of Ljubljana on Wednesday, Slovenia overcame a rough start to turn things around, overcome tournament sensations Ukraine, and advance to the quarterfinals of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2022.

Once the Slovenians’ nerves settled down, they took control of the match and defeated the Ukrainians 3-1 (18-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23) to advance to the semifinals. The loud environment at the packed Arena Storzice caused the home team to have a difficult start, but once the nerves were settled, the Slovenians took control of the match.

The Slovenian team will face the defending European champions, Italy, in the semifinals of the competition, which will take place on Saturday in Katowice, Poland. Earlier in the day in Ljubljana, Italy defeated the Olympic champions, France. The contest will be a replay of the battle that decided who would win the gold medal at the European Championships in the previous year.

Even though this is only Slovenia’s second time competing in the World Championship, they have already managed to move up one spot from the 12th position they finished in during their first appearance in 2018. After their most recent victory, the squad that Gheorge Cretu is coaching is just one victory away from claiming their first medal in the competition.

After the game, the team captain, Tine Urnaut, remarked on the performance and stated, “This is without a doubt our greatest success as a team to yet.” “We started from the very bottom, and we are overjoyed to have such incredible support from our supporters here. In the semifinal, we will compete fiercely for each and every ball, and then we will wait to see what happens.

Ukraine, competing in their first ever World Championship, had a superior performance than Slovenia in terms of kills (54 to 50), blocks (nine to seven), and aces (seven to four). However, the biggest disparity between the two sides was seen in the number of errors committed by each side, with Slovenia making 33 and the other team only 21.

Outside hitter Klemen ebulj was an essential component to the Slovenian team’s success. The 30-year-old veteran led the club in scoring with 23 points, recording 19 kills, one block, and three aces in addition to his other offensive contributions.

The seasoned outside hitter added 11 points (all in kills), and the middle blockers Jan Kozamernik and Alen Pajenk each contributed nine points to the team’s total. Team captain Urnaut also had a spectacular performance.

“It was a very challenging match because Ukraine has been playing really, really fantastic volleyball,” continued Urnaut. “It was a very close match.” “However, when we were playing in front of this incredible crowd, it was as though we had three additional players on the court.” Nothing we tried really worked in the first set, but after that we were able to play with more discipline and put more pressure on them, and that’s when things started to turn around for us.

Oleh Plotnyskyi, the captain of the Ukrainian team and an outside hitter, finished the match with 30 points, making him the match’s leading scorer (21 kills, four blocks, five aces). Tupchii, who plays opposite Vasyl, had a strong showing as well, adding 12 points of his own to the team’s total (ten kills, one block, one ace).

On Thursday, the last two matches of the quarterfinal round will be contested in Gliwice, Poland. These matches will determine who advances to the semifinal round. South American rivals Brazil and Argentina are scheduled to play each other in the first match, which is scheduled to get underway at 17.30 (GMT +15:30) local time. In the evening, at 21.00 local time (19.00 GMT), the hosts Poland and the United States will compete against one another.

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