Poland, one of the most supported national teams in international volleyball scenario, claim historic Volleyball Nations League gold in front of more than 11,000 home fans in Gdańsk, prevailing over the United States with the score of 3-1 (25:23, 24:26, 25:18, 25:18).
Poland triumph in Gdańsk rewards one of the most competitive (and beloved) national teams in the history of the competition as, outside from the inaugural edition, in 2018, when they were fifth, the Europeans appeared on the podium in every season, taking silver in 2021 and bronze in 2019 and 2022.
Only USA, their opponents in 2023 final, have that many medals!
29-year-old opposite Łukasz Kaczmarek, a backup during most of the team’s official games, replaced the injured team captain Bartosz Kurek in a great way, leaving the court as top scorer of the match with 25 points including one block and one ace, while Aleksander Śliwka also played a great game scoring 14 points including one block, and fellow outside hitter Tomasz Fornal, who came off the bench during the third set to replace superstar Wilfredo Leon, contributed with eight points.
The United States had three players in double digits, with outside hitter Torey Defalco top scorer with 14 points including one ace, the other outside hitter Aaron Russell, who had missed the first two matches in the Finals due to health issues, who came off the bench and scored 11 including two blocks, and Opposite Matt Anderson with ten points.
With great balance in blocking, nine to eight in favor of Poland, and points earned in opponent errors, where they had a 24-23 advantage, the European were better in attack (59 to 51) and aces (seven to three).
After their triumph in the VNL, Poland will try to repeat their great moment at the continental level, competing in the European Championship in Bulgaria, Israel, Italy and North Macedonia from August 18-26 while, a few weeks later, they will focus on the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic volleyball qualifier, going to China from September 30-October 8 to compete in Pool C against the hosts, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Belgium and Bulgaria.
USA will host the NORCECA Championship from September 3-11 while, at the end of the same month, they will fly to Japan to compete in the Pool B of the Road to Paris Olympic volleyball qualifier, where they will play against the hosts, Slovenia, Serbia, Türkiye, Tunisia, Egypt and Finland.
Earlier on Sunday, Japan secured an amazing 3-2 (25:18, 25:23, 17:25, 17:25, 15:9) win over world and European champions Italy to make their first podium appearance in the competition, finishing in third place to take bronze.
— July 23, 2022 @ Gdansk 🇵🇱 —
• GOLD MEDAL MATCH | 20:00 (Local Time) | Poland – USA 3-1 (25:23, 24:26, 25:18, 25:18)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH