Poland and the USA joined Brazil as medal winners at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup in Japan.
Brazil secured the gold medal in the penultimate round yesterday and played vs. Italy only for the sake of prestige. However, the gold medal winners did not want to spoil their perfect record and beat the rivals in straights sets for the 11th victory: 3-0 (25:20, 25:22, 25:15). Isac Sants led Brazil, who was represented by backups today, with 14 points including 5 aces.
Poland recorded one of the easiest victories against rivals Iran to claim the silver medal: 3-0 (25:18, 25:18, 25:16). Although matches between these two teams often contain provocations and tension, this time everything went well. Surprisingly, Poland’s head coach Heynen decided not to appear at the medal award ceremony in Hiroshima, trying to arrive in Italy as soon as possible in order to be officially presented as head coach Sir Safety Conad Perugia. Wilfredo León was the top scorer for Poland with 17 points including 4 winning blocks).
Poland assistant Sebastian Pawlik: ”To be second at this tournament we needed this victory today and we did what we should do. That’s why we are happy. It was a tough tournament for us, because we played the European Championship before the World Cup and immediately after that came here to play games. So we are glad that our players stayed healthy. We used many players here, so for us this is also important that everybody is healthy so we can now go back home and work in our clubs.”
Poland captain Michal Kubiak: “The fans can be really happy, because this was a really good game. This is what happens when two very motivated teams play against each other, we could see that today. We are very happy we are second at the World Cup, this is a really good result. This was the last game of this season so we are even more happy that we won, and see you guys in one year at the Olympics – and before that in the Japanese league.”
Iran coach Igor Kolakovic: “First of all congratulations to the Polish team for the silver medal and for this victory. It was a game in which we could learn a lot, because we played against one of the best – maybe in this moment the best team in the world, even though they took a silver medal here. (That was true for) some periods of the game but some periods we were too impressed with the Polish team, or maybe we are exhausted after this long tournament. Some young players are also so tired and that led to some special things in this game. Tonight they had an opportunity to play against the best team in the world and they couldn’t give all of their energy to play until the end. But, in the end, I can understand this because some of them have some injury problems, some of them are without experience, and some of them were without such good preparation for this tournament. So I think this game is important because Poland could celebrate the silver medal.”
Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani: “I think we couldn’t show our best performance in this tournament. It was a long summer for us and we couldn’t finish in the best way, but after three months we have to be ready for the Olympic Games (qualifiers) so we have to forget this tournament and give focus to our future.”
Led by Matthew Anderson, who scored 17 points and Mitchell Stahl, who added 6 aces, USA beat Egypt in four sets (22:25, 25:16, 25:14, 25:13) and reached the bronze medal. They could have won the silver medal as well, but Poland’s win, later on, took that chance away from them.
USA coach John Speraw: “This was a great experience for our team. I am pleased with our general effort throughout the tournament, especially our outside hitters. Aaron Russell and Garrett Muagututia played every game. It is good to get on the medal stand. Garrett showed his value to the team. Now we will go home and get healthy.”
USA captain Micah Christenson: “I’m happy with how we finished. We respect the Egypt team. They are dangerous and have quality players. We responded after the first set. We have grown in this tournament. We want to continue to improve our results.”
USA player Matthew Anderson: “We have more work to do. We had some different guys playing because of injuries. We know we can play against the best teams in the world, but we are not there yet. Our goal for next summer is the gold.”
Egypt coach Gido Vermeulen: “They are one of the best teams. We prepared to face Micah, but he did not play in the first set. When he came in he killed us with his setting. They served well after that and we could not play anymore. For the most part, we performed well in the tournament, with the exception of one or two games, and showed what we can do.”
Egypt player Omar Hassan: “They are the best team in the world. We made good preparations for the match. Our performance was good in the tournament except for one or two matches. The USA team is well organized and has good players. They have powerful serves and effective blocks. We did win the first set.”
All results of today:
As for the individual awards, Brazil’s opposite hitter Alan Souza was named Most Valuable Player.
Best Opposite Hitter: Yuji Nishida (Japan)
Best Setter: Micah Christenson (USA)
Best Outside Hitters: Wilfredo León (Poland), Yuki Ishikawa (Japan)
Best Middle Blockers: Maxwell Holt (USA), Lucas Saatkamp “Lucão“ (Brazil)
Best Libero: Thales Hoss (Brazil)
MVP: Alan Souza (Brazil)
Source and photos: worldcup.2019.fivb.com