Lausanne, Switzerland, September 23, 2018 – Russia and Poland are the last two teams to advance to the third round of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship after the matches on Sunday.
In the crucial Pool H encounter, Poland got back to winning ways with an emphatic shutout of Serbia to top the final standings in the pool. With the Serbs having qualified for Turin a day earlier, the Poles were clearly the more motivated side in what for them was a do-or-die battle. A total of 12 stuff blocks and 10 aces helped the reigning world champions stay on track as they attempt to defend their title. With five serving points, Bartosz Kurek scored a total of 20 times to top the charts of the match.
To be sure of joining the last six, Russia needed to win their last Pool E match against Finland. And so they did, with a compelling straight-set victory which put the 2018 Volleyball Nations League winners among the two best ranked pool runners-up, together with Serbia.
With USA, Brazil and Italy also having booked their tickets to the next round on Saturday, the number of candidates for World Championship honours has now been narrowed down to six.
Thousands of Polish fans cheered their favourites on their way from Varna to Turin
Other Sunday highlights:
• Despite opting for many changes in their playing line-up, USA extended their winning streak to eight matches with a straight, but hard-fought victory over Iran in Pool G to remain unbeaten at this World Championship.
• With another quality performance from Earvin Ngapeth (28 points), France finished their Pool H campaign with a four-set win over Argentina, hoping it would be enough for advancement, only to be disappointed later on, when Poland beat Serbia leaving the French out of contention.
• In the game against Serbia, Poland registered their 100th victory in the history of the World Championships.
• Along with wrapping up their co-hosting duties, Bulgaria also ended their participation in the World Championship. Having lost any chances of advancement, Bulgaria and Canada still put on a five-set battle for the second place in Pool G, with the North Americans emerging with the win.
• By the start of their last Pool F match with Brazil, Belgium had also lost all hope of progressing to the next round, but to stay in the runner-up position they needed to win one set against the South Americans. They won two before Brazil stormed back to win the next three and register their seventh victory since the start of the tournament.
• Brazil’s Evandro Guerra tallied as many as 30 points in the game with Belgium and became the best scorer of the day across all of Sunday’s matches at the World Championship.
• Coach Gianlorenzo Blengini gave some rest to Italy’s key players, but those who took to the court for the team’s last match in Pool E delighted the sold-out stands in Milan with a come-from-behind four-set victory over the Netherlands.
• Serbia are the only team among the last six that have never won World Championship gold.
Italy’s Luigi Randazzo scored 23 times against the Netherlands to top the charts of the match
Brazil’s Evandro Guerra – Sunday’s best scorer at the World Championship
On Monday morning the six teams qualified for the 3rd round will be drawn into two pools of three. In each pool, a single round robin will be played Wednesday through Friday with the top two teams advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.