December 5, 2022

Italy ended a 24-year wait for their fourth global title on Sunday, defeating defending champions Poland 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-20) in the gold medal match of the tournament’s 20th edition.

A few hours earlier, Brazil defeated Slovenia 3-1 to capture bronze, their sixth consecutive appearance on the World Championship podium, following golds in 2002, 2006, and 2010, and silvers in 2014 and 2018.

The Italian team had previously triumphed in the competition in 1990, 1994, and 1998, bringing their total number of victories to four. Their nation is currently in second place with the most victories in the sport, following only the country that was formerly known as the Soviet Union. The former Soviet Union won the World Championship in 1949, 1952, 1960, 1962, 1978, and 1982. Their country won the competition in 1978.

Simone Giannelli, who plays setter and is also the team captain, stated, “It doesn’t feel true.” “When we won the European Championship the previous year, I was overcome with emotion and cried a lot. But as of right now, I’m too thrilled and delighted to cry, so there’s no point. I am completely at a loss for words; all I can do is grin and giggle. I’m very proud of my team, and I’m so proud to be Italian, and I’m so proud to have won the world championship.

Ferdinando De Giorgi, Italy’s head coach, is the only member of Italy’s national team to have played a role in each of the country’s four victories. The 60-year-old was a member of the national team and served as the team’s setter in the competitions that took place in 1990, 1994, and 1998. Subsequently, he led the team to seven triumphs this year in Poland and Slovenia while coaching them from the sidelines.

Alessandro Michieletto, who is only 20 years old but plays outside hitter, found the victory to be very meaningful. After winning the U19 world title in 2019 and the U21 world title in 2018, he is now part of an elite group of players who have won gold medals at all three levels of competition. Other players in this group include Nalbert Bittencourt and Leandro Vissotto of Brazil, Jakub Kochanowski and Bartosz Kwolek of Poland, and Jakub Kochanowski of Poland.

The accomplishments of Michieletto, who is only 20 years old, reflect what is a very promising moment for the Italian national team. The Italian national team secured the world title while starting the gold medal match with six starters age 26 or younger. This comes after the Italian national team won the European title with an extremely young squad last year.

Italy’s victory in the match for the gold medal came as a direct result of the great play of their three primary attacking players. Outside hitter Daniele Lavia was the leader of the team, scoring the most points (19) of anybody during the match thanks to her 16 kills, two blocks, and one ace.

Michieletto, another outside hitter, finished in close second with 14 points (11 kills, two blocks, and one ace), one point more than Yuri Roman, an opposite hitter who produced all of his 13 points in the form of kills.

Italy

Giannelli continued by saying, “This is a fantastic group.” “We just compete fiercely. We just have to keep fighting and keep playing hard no matter what the scoreboard says or what the other team is doing. This is a game that both of us really enjoy, and we have a lot of fun playing it together. I have high hopes that this is the beginning of an amazing journey. We have a large number of younger people who are quite good, and it is imperative that we continue to mature and develop into something significant. It’s a very exciting time for us, but we still have to keep our eyes on the prize.

Aleksander Sliwka, an outside hitter for Poland, finished with a total of 12 points, nine kills, and three blocks. He was Poland’s leading scorer. Kamil Semeniuk, another outside hitter for the team, also achieved double digits with 11 points, all of which came from kills.

FIVB Men’s World Championship Poland Slovenia 2022 schedule and results

In the match for the gold medal, Italy got out to a better start and immediately built a lead of 4-2; however, the Polish team rallied back and eventually overtook them at 9-8 after Mateusz Bieniek spiked the ball to finish a rally. Lavia regained the lead for Italy with two consecutive kills, bringing the score to 14-13. After Michieletto served an ace, the Italians were in position to win the set at 21-17; however, Bieniek had a superb serving run that culminated in an ace of his own, which brought the score to 21-21 and evened the match. Sliwka was the hero for Poland in the end, recording a kill and an ace to help Poland win the first set 25-22. His efforts were pivotal in Poland’s victory.

After a strong start to the second set, in which they scored the opening three points, the Poles maintained their good flow. A timeout was called by the Italian coach Ferdinando De Giorgi, and his tactic was successful as it allowed his team to fight back and equal the score at 7-7 with an ace by Lavia. When De Giorgi sent Lukasz Kaczmarek onto the court, the home team was able to regain some ground, bringing the score to 16-13. This prompted De Giorgi to request a second timeout. Again, the change had an effect, as seen by the fact that the Italians scored three goals in a row to tie the score. Following strong play from both teams, the Italians took the set 25-21 with to a tremendous block by Simone Anzani. The match ended tied 1-1.

Despite the fact that they won the second set, the Italians struggled to get off to a good start in the third and watched as the Poles took a lead of 7-4 after Michieletto spiked out. The team regained their composure, seized the lead at 9-8 thanks to a mistake committed by the Polish captain Bartosz Kurek, and increased their advantage to 14-12 with the help of Michieletto. The middle blockers from Italy were crucial to their team’s success, especially when Roberto Russo scored back-to-back points to put them in a commanding position with a comfortable lead (19-15). Anzani delivered a powerful shot, which resulted in the finish of the set with a score of 25-18.

The fourth set began with both teams tied, but Italy were able to pull ahead by three points after a spike out by Tomasz Fornal at the 9-6 mark. A few plays later, their lead was increased to 12-7 as Anzani made a significant block, which also hushed the Spodek. 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 was cut by three points (13-10) thanks to an ace that was served by Kurek, which gave the Poles some reason for optimism.