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The Poles on the wings of Leon and after the injury of Ropret overcame the Slovenian spell; just Italy – France



The excellent Polish bloc caused problems for Slovenia

Slovenian volleyball players will fight for the bronze medal at the European Championship. In the semi-final in Rome, Poland, the first team in the world ranking and the current winner of the League of Nations, won 3:1.

Poland registered its eighth victory at this year’s championship, but only lost its fourth set, and will play in the final of this type of tournament for the first time since 2009, when it won the only title of European champion. At the last two European Championships, she lost to Slovenia in the semi-finals and then won bronze. She previously cloned in 2015 and 2017 as well, but now she has broken that spell.

Slovenia, which has already been second at the European championships three times, will fight for bronze for the first time. She won the opening set, but then Poland took the initiative. Wilfredo Leon (25 points) played well, but above all, the Polish block, which is by far the best in the tournament, and the serve worked perfectly. The Slovenians were thrown out of rhythm by Gregor Ropret’s injury. They remained without the first organizer of the game in the third set. In Gheorghe Cretu’s line, Rok Možič and Klemen Čebulj each contributed 15 points, while Tine Urnaut added ten.

In the playoffs of the first set, the Slovenians remained calm

The Slovenians lost for the first time in the fourth semifinal of the European Championships.  Photo: EPA

As many as 19 times the score was tied in the opening set. The Slovenians, who proved themselves with a fighting game, were very calm and made only four mistakes. On the other side, the Poles have as many as 12 of them, and this is exactly what tipped the scales in favor of the Slovenian side at the end of the set. Poland had a small initiative, but Cretu reacted in time and stopped a small rush at 14:12 with a break. Urnaut’s attack was then successful for 23:22, and after the tie, Norbert Huber sent the ball into the net when serving. Slovenia took advantage of the first final ball when Jakub Kochanowski put the ball over the Slovenian block, but it ended up outside the field.

Too many Slovenian errors in the second set

Cretu’s protégés started the second set very well. With the excellent services of Čebul, who scored the first two aces of the match, they took a 5:2 lead. The Poles were very nervous at the time, but after Nikola Grbić’s time-out, they quickly rallied and reversed the result. With the opening shots, Leon took care of the tie at 6:6, and after a good block by Huber Možič, the first national team of the world ranking took the lead with 8:7. In the continuation, Leon shone, who was the most deserving with excellent attacks, that the difference grew to six. Slovenia, who made as many as 13 errors in this set, while their rivals made six, came close twice to -2 with some good actions, but Poland responded in time and reliably tied the set at 1:1 with the second final ball used.

Unfortunate injury to Ropret in the third set

With the score tied at 4:4, Slovenia had two attacks to take the lead in the third set, and Poland then took the lead by two. But the Slovenians quickly responded with consecutive points, and Jan Kozamernik provided a 7:6 lead with a good block. After a mistake by Ropret, who tried to cheat, but sent the ball into the car, Poland took the lead (12:11), but the first Slovenian passer injured his ankle in action. Uroš Planinšič came into the game in his place, and the Polish rush tried to stop Crete with a time-out, but immediately after that, Možič was caught in the block, and Leon took advantage of the poor defense for 17:13. Cretu’s second intervention was more successful, as two Slovenian points followed, and quickly Poland took a four-point lead again with a good block and an effective attack and reliably recorded victory in the third set.

Leon won a decisive advantage in the fourth set with serves

At the beginning of the fourth set, Leon broke through Možič’s block for the first Polish lead, and three consecutive Slovenian points followed. Možič served excellently twice, and Planinšič blocked Leon and Slovenia took the lead 5:3. With three consecutive errors at the opening shot, she brought Poland back into the game, leading 13:11 after an even first part of the set. First, the Slovenian defense reacted poorly to Leon’s unconvincing attack, and the Cuban in the Polish jersey then scored another ace. Cretu immediately took a break. Leon served four more times perfectly and prevented elaborate Slovenian attacks. The gap grew to six. Slovenia quickly managed to cut the deficit in half, so Grbić also requested a break. Urnaut and Možič were caught in the block, and Poland again escaped to +6. The indomitable Slovenians came back into the game and got to -2 after a good serve by Urnaut, then the transfer of the captain at the kick-off and a successful attack by Lukasz Kaczmarek for the Polish final.


POLAND − Slovenia 3:1 (-23, 21, 20, 21) 9269 spectators.

Poland: Popiwczak, Kaczmarek 14 (1 block), Kurek, Klos, Leon 25 (2 aces, 3 blocks), Bednorz, Šliwka 10 (2 blocks), Lomacz, Kochanowski 6 (1 ace, 1 block) Semeniuk, Zatorski, Janusz, Fornal , Huber 10 (3 blocks).

Slovenia: Pajenk 7 (2 blocks), Planinšič 1 (1 block), Kozamernik 7 (1 block), Toman, Bračko, Štalekar, Koncilja, Kovačič, Ž. Štern, Ropret, Urnaut 10 (2 aces), Čebulj 15 (2 blocks), Možič 15 (1 ace, 3 blocks), Mujanović.

At 21.15:ITALY − FRANCE-:- (-, -, -)

The final and third place match will be held on Saturday.

Source: Rtvslo

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