Despite a very good attitude throughout the tournament, the Polish men’s volleyball team ultimately failed to win this year’s edition of the FIVB Nations League. Vital Heynen ‘s players were able to break the curse of meetings with Slovenia in the semifinals, but a day later had to acknowledge the superiority of Brazil. The last place on the podium, after surprisingly easy victory over our Saturday’s rivals, were taken by the French.
Nations League 2021, Final Four: Poland – Slovenia 3:0 (25:22, 25:21, 25:23)
In the semifinals Polish-Red team faced Slovenian team, which in the past caused our volleyball players a lot of problems. The best example of this is the last match between the two teams in the regular phase of the FIVB Nations League, when the Poles lost 1:3. As expected, Saturday’s match was also not an easy one, but this time the team led by Heynen was able to take control in key moments and defeat uncomfortable rival 3:0. The father of this success turned out to be Bartosz Kurek, who scored 17 points and attacked with nearly 48% efficiency.
Nations League 2021, Final: Poland – Brazil 1:3 (25:22, 23:25, 16:25, 14:25)
In Sunday’s final in Rimini, players with the eagle on the chest awaited by far the toughest test – the battle with great Brazil, which finished the basic phase in first place, and in the semifinals did not give the slightest chance to the French (3:0). Polish-Red players started very difficult and high-level duel from winning the first set (25:22), but in subsequent parts the Canarinhos played better in attack and attack. Great performance of Bartosz Kurek (17 points) or Michał Kubiak (15 points) was not enough – in the last two sets the 2016 Olympic champions outclassed the current world champions.
The Brazilians thus recorded on their account the tenth victory in the history of the World League renamed three years ago as the League of Nations. For the Poles, on the other hand, this is the fourth medal in these competitions – current achievements of our representation include three bronze medals and one silver. Defeat in the final is painful, but Volleyball Nations League was not the primary goal this season. Vital Heynen and his volleyball players are preparing their form for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Cieszmy się z takiego poziomu polskiej siatkówki🇵🇱🇵🇱💪 Lekkie marudzenie wynika pewnie z pragnienia olimpijskiego złota🥇Oni też tego pragną i jestem przekonany, że w Tokio będą gotowi by to osiągnąć💪💪 Dzięki wielkie wszystkim kibicom za ten szalony miesiąc z siatkówką👏👏👏
— Jerzy Mielewski (@Mielewski) June 27, 2021
Third place match ended with confident victory of French team over Slovenia (3:0). Alberto Giuliani’s players from the beginning of the match gave the impression of being tired from the hardships of the entire tournament, which the tricolors took advantage of without scruples, reaching for the sixth medal in the history of their appearances in the Europa League and Nations League.
In the standout photo: Jakub Kochanowski battles Joandry Leal at the net in the final match between Poland and Brazil in the FIVB Nations League; photo: Foto Olimpik / NurPhoto via Getty Images Sport