In a thrilling match in Rome on Saturday, the Polish national volleyball team emerged victorious against Italy in the European Championship final, winning 3-0 (25:20, 25:21, 25:23).
Coached by Serbian Nikola Grbić, the Polish team avenged their loss to Italy in last year’s World Championship held in Katowice. Both teams had an impressive tournament run, each losing only four sets in total. The match undeniably featured the best two teams of the Championship.
Poland dominated the defending champions, Italy, in the first two sets. Poland’s Norbert Huber gave an exceptional performance in serving, and his efforts played a pivotal role in driving the Polish team forward. Although Italy showed signs of recovery in the third set, Poland, currently leading in the world rankings, maintained its grip to seal the victory.
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The MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the tournament was handed to Poland’s Wilfredo Leon. After the final match against Italy, he said he would like to dedicate the victory to God and his family.
“First, to God. Second, to my family, who were really with me all the time and built me up with their words, saying that I have to do it, I am great, and that I can accomplish this. And in third place, I put everyone who was around me, as well as everyone who was rooting for me and the team,” said Leon.
Earlier in the competition, Slovenia secured the bronze medal by defeating France in a close 3-2 match.
This golden victory marks a historic milestone for Poland as they bagged two gold medals in a single season for the first time in history; they previously won the Nations League in July. The Polish team claimed their first European Championship gold 14 years ago in Bulgaria, overcoming France in the final with a score of 3:1.
Now, the team is setting its sights on the most crucial challenge of 2023, the Olympic qualifiers. Scheduled to take place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, the team will travel to China to play seven matches. The top two teams from the group will advance, with host nation France already having secured their spot in the Games.