After several disappointing results, Poland produced an astounding performance to retain their world title at the 2018 FIVB World Championship.
Turin, Italy, October 1, 2018 - Three weeks and 94 matches ago, at the start of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship, we posed questions that were awaiting answers, as fans across the globe were looking forward in high anticipation to the greatest volleyball show on earth. Now, we have the answers:
Can Russia carry on from their Volleyball Nations League triumph to claim their first world championship in 36 years?
No. Russia peaked at the VNL finals in Lille, last July, to claim the title of the inaugural edition of that competition, but failed to repeat their performance at the 2018 FIVB World Championship.
They did make the Final Six, but crashed out of the competition without advancing to the medals round, after suffering two defeats in the hands of Brazil (3-2) and USA (3-0) in Round 3 pool play to make an early exit.
Russia have now not been in a medals round since 2002, when they finished runners-up to Brazil.
Russia made the Final Six at the 2018 World Championship, but failed to enter the medals round and repeat their success of earlier this year when they won the VNL.
Can Poland find their way back to the top to claim back-to-back world titles?
Indeed they could, and they did. Producing solid performances when it mattered most, Poland retained the world title they had won at home four years ago in similar fashion by beating Brazil in straight sets in the final.
It was Poland's third world title overall, including their first, back in 1974.
The huge success in Turin marks a comeback for Poland, after several disappointing performances, including the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 European Championship.
Can co-hosts Italy and Bulgaria capitalise on home advantage to make something out of this World Championship?
Not quite. Bulgaria bowed out of the tournament after Round 2.
Italy did qualify to the top six, but after a couple of disappointing performances against Serbia and Poland they too left the World Championship without the chance to play for a medal - certainly below their expectations after the Rio 2016 silver medal.
Luiz Felipe 'Lipe' Fonteles, William Arjona and Maique Reis Nascimento celebrate a point in their semifinal against Serbia. The Rio 2016 champions came ever so close to reclaiming the world title they lost in 2014, but fell on the final hurdle.
Can Brazil continue the legacy of the Rio 2016 Olympic gold with a world title two years later?
Almost. The reigning Olympic champions were on track for a fourth World Championship gold medal until the very end, having produced some truly exciting and entertaining performances throughout the competition - including an amazing comeback from two sets down in Round 3 to beat Russia.
But at the very end Poland proved too solid an opponent in the final and Brazil just couldn't find a way around them, having to settle for silver.
Who can join the exclusive list of players having scored 30 points or more in a single World Championship match?
A host of players throughout the 2018 World Championship scored 30 points or more.
The highlight was Aleksandar Atanasijevic's 38 points for Serbia in their 3-2 win over France in Round 2. This ties the World Championships all-time record set by Puerto Rico's Hector Soto against Argentina (3-2) in 2006.
Another Puertorican, Maurice Torres, came just a point short of also tying the record when he scored 37 points in his team's five-set loss to Finland in Round 1.
Serbia's Aleksandar Atanasijevic attacks against France for one of his all-time high 38 points.
Who will be top scorer of the 2018 FIVB World Championship, and can they beat the all-time record of 271 points?
It is Bartosz Kurek who was named MVP of the 2018 World Championship after leading Poland to their back-to-back titles. He scored 171 in 12 matches - way short of the all-time record of Puerto Rico's Hector Soto from 2006.
Can any player beat the all-time blocking and serving records in a single World Championship match?
No. None of the individual and team records for blocking and serving fell at this World Championship.
In blocking the team record still stands from 2002 of 22 stuffs by Yugoslavia against USA (3-1). And individually no one has beaten the 9 stuffs held jointly by Germany's Stefan Hubner from 2006 against USA (3-2), Brazil's Rodrigo 'Rodrigao' Satana from 2010 against Spain (3-1) and Iran's Mohammad Mousavi from 2010 against Italy (2-3).
In serving the team record is 17 aces by Russia against Belgium from 2014. The 8 aces by Germany's Gyorgy Grozer against Bulgaria (3-1) from 2014 also still stands.
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018
Results and ranking