In Pool 5, played in China, two-time consecutive world champions Poland fall against France, while the hosts China score first victory. In Pool 6 young team of Italy win over USA, while Russia smash Portugal. In Pool 7, Brazil suffer but win at tie-break against Iran to stay unbeaten, while Ishikawa destroys Argentina. In Pool 8 grear battle between Germany and Serbia, and Canada win in straight sets against Australia.
France continued their great 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League campaign (4-0 victory) by beating two-time consecutive world champions Poland in four sets (28:26, 25:23, 24:26, 25:20) on Day 1 of the second week. The players coached by Laurent Tillie have maintained their VNL perfect moment by prevailing in Pool 5 in Ningbo, China, making this scoreline for the fourth straight time in the tournament. Vital Heynen introduced a starting lineup composed of mostly national team rookies with the exception of Dawid Konarski. There were no players like Kurek, Kubiak or León, who will join the team in a two-month time.
In this match Jean Patry scored 22 points for France to remain their top scorer in the 2019 VNL with 64 points, while Piotr Łukasik scored 17 points for Poland), including 4 winning blocks.
Bulgaria national team traveled for nearly 55 hours from Argentina (Week 1, Mendoza) to China for the second week and their performance against Pool 5 hosts reflect this travel! China scored their first victory in the competition (now 1-3 record) while Bulgaria lost their third match in a row (1-3 as well).
The Asian team blocked the rivals (18-7) with Zhang Zhejia and Liu Libin dominating with 5 winning blocks each. Chuan Jiang was the top scorer with 19 points, while Svetoslav Gotsev scored 9 points for Bulgaria.
Despite having lot of new faces on their roster, Italy opened Week 2 with the third victory (now 3-1 record). In Pool 6 in Ufa, Russia, the national team of Italy beat their stark rivals of USA by a 3-1 (25:23, 13:25, 25:20, 25:23), inflicting the third defeat to the North Americans (now with 1-3 record) in the competition. Blengini has further rejuvenated the lineup by sending Giulio Pinali and Daniele Lavia on the court. Despite bringing major players like Christenson and Holt back to the roster, the USA did not do nothing in against Italy. Benjamin Patch made his first appearance in the 2019 VNL, and was top scorer for USA with 24 points. Gabriele Nelli was top-scorer of Italy with 28 points.
Pool 6 hosts Russia, now with a 3-1 record, had an easy match against tournament’s debutants Portugal, beating them in straight sets in their only second-ever encounter in the world-level major tournaments.
Dmitriy Volkov was Russia’s top scorer with 15 points, while Marco Ferreira scored 14 for Portugal, who are at 1-3.
Brazil beat Iran after a thrilling Pool 7 match: Tokyo’s fans could see a really amazing match in which Iran were a set up against Brazil twice but succumbed at the tie-break (23:25, 25:16, 21:25, 33:31, 15:10). So, Brazil remained unbeaten with a 4-0 record, preventing Iran to make the same record in the competition (3-1). Ricardo Lucarelli was the top scorer in Brazil with 20 points. The head coach of the South American giants, Marcelo Fronckowiak, who has been replacing an actual head coach Renan Dal Zotto (banned for 4 games by the FIVB), used 13 of 14 registered players on the roster against Iran. Seyed Mousavi scored 19 points for Iran, including 5 winning-blocks.
Argentina national team had a terrible 48-hour trip to Tokyo for the second week of the tournament and it resulted in a straight-set defeat to Pool 7 hosts Japan. Now, both team have a 2-2 record. Yuki Ishikawa played an amazing match for Japan, scoring 28 points, the one-third of all points of his team in the match! He included 4 winning blocks and 3 aces, while Federico Pereyra scored 18 points for Argentina.
What a battle between Germany and Serbia in Pool 8, played at Ottawa, Canada! Despite a disadvantage of 1-2, Germany manages to recover and snatch the tie break, easily won 15:9. The Serbian Dusan Petkovic was the best scorer of the match with 27 points, but it was not enough to led his team to victory, while Christian Fromm scored 25 points on the winning side.
The hosts of Canada, after a relatively balanced first set, destroy Australia in straight sets (25:23, 25:17, 25:18). Canadian Sharone Vernon-Evans was the best scorer of the game with 20 points, including 2 winning-blocks.
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Week 2 – Day 1:
Pool 5 (Ningbo, China):
France – Poland 3-1 (28:26, 25:23, 24:26, 25:20)
China – Bulgaria 3-0 (26:24, 25:20, 25:17)
Pool 6 (Ufa, Russia):
Italy – USA 3-1 (25:23, 13:25, 25:20, 25:23)
Russia – Portugal 3-0 (25:19, 25:22, 25:20)
Pool 7 (Tokyo, Japan):
Brazil – Iran 3-2 (23:25, 25:16, 21:25, 33:31, 15:10)
Japan – Argentina 3-0 (25:16, 25:16, 33:31)
Pool 8 (Ottawa, Canada):
Germany – Serbia 3-2 (25:20, 16:25, 26:28, 26:24, 15:9)
Canada – Australia 3-0 (25:23, 25:17, 25:18)
Source and photos: FIVB – volleyball.world