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Poland and Italy clash for last semifinals ticket

 

Turin, Italy, September 28, 2018 - Poland and Italy wrap up pool play in Round 3 of the 2018 FIVB World Championship with what could turn out to be a thriller to decide the last remaining ticket for Saturday's semifinals. To qualify, the hosts need to win in straight sets and concede 60 points or less (or finish with 15-point difference). For Poland, one set is sufficient to qualify and join Serbia who have already advanced from the pool.

Poland and Italy meet for the third time in World Championship history, with the Poles having won both pevious encounters, in 2002 and 2014.

Head-to-Head
• Poland have won both their matches against Italy at World Championships, 3-2 in 2002, and 3-1 in 2014.
• Poland won the last two encounters with Italy at world level tournaments, 3-1 in the 2017 World League, and 3-2 in the 2018 Nations League.
• Artur Szalpuk scored 24 points for Poland in that 3-2 win in the Nations League. Gabriele Nelli had 27 points for Italy.
• Italy's last win against Poland in a world level major competition was a 3-1 victory at the 2015 World Cup.
• World level major competitions are: Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League, Grand Champions Cup and Nations League.

Italy
• Italy lost their third round match against Serbia on Wednesday: 3-0. This was their second loss of the tournament, after a five-setter against Russia in the second round.
• Italy have seven wins at this World Championship. Only in 1998 (11) and 2006 (8) they had more at a single World Championship.
• Italy have reached the semifinals at only one of the last four World Championships, in 2010. They ultimately finished in fourth place at that tournament, held on home soil in Italy.
• Italy have won four matches in straight sets at the 2018 World Championship. The last time they had more straight-set wins at a single World Championship was in 1998 (8).
• For the first time since 1986 (4 in a row), Italy could lose back-to-back World Championship matches in straight sets.
• Ivan Zaytsev is Italy's top scorer this World Championship with 127 points.

Poland
• After beating Serbia 3-0 in their last third round match, Poland registered the same result against the same opponent on Thursday.
• Poland have won seven and lost two matches at the 2018 World Championship. Their two defeats in 2018 are already one more than they had in their entire 2014 World Championship campaign.
• Poland are one shy of 50 defeats at World Championships. They have played exactly 150 matches thus far, winning 101 and losing 49.
• Poland could book three straight 3-0 wins. The last time they did this was in their first three matches of the 2014 campaign, against Serbia, Australia and Venezuela.
• Poland could reach the semifinals for the third time at World Championships, after 2006 (lost final v Brazil) and 2014 (won title v Brazil).
• Artur Szalpuk is Poland's top scorer at the 2018 World Championship on 114 points, one ahead of Bartosz Kurek (113).

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