Italy crowned champions at the maiden #EuroVolleyU22M


Article Sun, Jul 17 2022
Author: Victoria Georgieva

Italy’s triumph on the international Volleyball stage continued on Sunday with the Men’s U22 team claiming the title in the first ever edition of CEV U22 Volleyball European Championship - Men that took place from July 12 to 17 in the Polish town of Tarnow.
The Italian team, composed by many of the players who in 2021 won the World title in the U21 under age group, defeated in the Grand Finale the team of France (as their younger compatriots did earlier on that day, in the Men’s U18 age group). Italy showed great spirit in the match that lasted exactly 108 minutes, as after losing the first set, were able to come back, and win the next three.

In the match for the Bronze medals, and to the delight of home crowds, Poland outplayed Türkiye at 3-1.

After completion of the tournament, the Dream Team of #EuroVolleyU22M was revealed as well:

Best outside hitters: Tomasso Rinaldi (ITA) and Michał Gierżot (POL)
Best middle blockers: Francesco Comparoni (ITA) and Karol Urbanowicz (POL)
Best opposite: Ibrahim Lawani (FRA)
Best setter : Kellian Motta Paes (FRA)
Best libero: Thibault Loubeyre (FRA)
MVP: Paolo Porro (ITA)

Gold Medal Match

France 1-3 Italy (26-24, 23-25, 22-25, 21-25)

Both teams were heading to an inspired beginning of the match, going ‘head-to-head’ in the beginning of the first set. However, with Tommaso Rinaldi on the serve, the Italians could build a 3-point difference. However, with the set unfolding, France started breathing down their opponents’ necks. Italy kept their dominance, and got a setpoint at 24-22 in their favour. However, they missed their chances and let their rivals turn things around, thanks to a good serve performance by Nathan Canovas. Two aces and one more block (4-3) were crucial for France’s set-win, as Italy outperformed them on the winning spikes (15-13).

Inspired, the Young Les Blues started slightly better in the second set (7-5), but Giulio Magalini’s serve helped the Italians to get back on track (9-9). The two sides then started exchanging the leadership position, as none of the teams was giving up, showing fighting spirit. Halir Henno was giving his best for the French team, but Italy showed greater team spirit and tied the set-score. In this set, the teams were really close to each other when it comes to statistics - France scored 11 winning spikes (Italy - 10), one kill block (Italy - two) and one ace (Italy - two).

The same scenario unfolded in the third set, as the teams were constantly chasing each other in the score, and once a team would build a point difference, the other one would turn the table. It wasn’t until 12-14 in favour of Italy, when the players of head coach Vincenzo Fanizza made a four-point difference, that turned out to be too big for France until the end of the set. Even though the French tried coming back, Italy kept their cool, finishing with 16 winning spikes (58% efficiency).

The fans in Arena Jaskolka witnessed another real Volleyball thriller in the last set. Both France and Italy were determined to deliver their best game, entering always in a series of points, changing the leadership position. In this game, it was Italy that showed nerves of steel in the last minutes - thanks to an ace by Nicola Cianciotta for the matchpoint.

Nine more winning spikes turned out to be the key to the success for the Italian squad (59 to 51), as France finished with one more kill block (10 to nine), and two more aces (5-3).

Giulio Magalini was above all the fixture, finishing as top scorer and 26 points to his name. Tommaso Rinaldi added 12. For France, Ibrahim Lawani was the best, scoring 22 points.

"It's a very important medal. Yesterday we played a really good match against Poland supported by a local crowd. We are very tired, but we did the right things at the right moment and fortunately we won. It means a lot, because we struggled with many problems during the preparation period, so we are happy that we succeeded. Now we are the world and European champions and it's important for our development and the team. "

Paolo Porro
MVP of #EuroVolleyU22M 2022

Bronze Medal Match

Türkiye 1-3 Poland (17-25, 25-20, 24-26, 23-25)

Both sides started equally in the beginning of the first set. However, the Polish players speeded up, rally after rally. Dawid Dulski and Michal Gierzot were stealing the show in attack, allowing the hosts of the Final Round to build a comfortable point-difference. Strong performance on the serving line also helped the Poles to establish control of the game, as the Turkish team started having problems in reception. Allowing no surprises, Poland opened in their favour, finishing with 61% in attack, compared to only 35% by the Turks. Furthermore, the players around head coach Daniel Plinski recorded more kill blocks (3-0).

Nothing was over for Türkiye yet. Led by Kaan Gurbuz on the service, the Turkish team took a 9-6 lead. This helped Türkiye to play with more confidence, dictating the game. Despite the fact that the Polish squad tried to get closer, but Mirza Lagumdzija put the end of the discussion in this set with an effective spike. Statistically, the Turks delivered much better performance on attack - 83% efficiency in the second set.

The Poles reacted quickly in the next part. Taking more risks on their side of the net, they started leading at 6-3. Karol Urbanowicz and Markiewicz worked well in the middle, but the Turkish players also showed good concentration, especially in defence, tying the score at 13-13. The game of nerves continued until the last moments of the set (21-21), as Türkiye was led by Lagumdzija. However, the hosts showed greater mental strengths and emerged victorious 26-24.

A point-for-point race marked the beginning of the fourth set. Both teams were breathing down each other’s necks. Serhan Fatih Uzun entered the court, converting himself into an important trump card for the Balkan team, but Plinski’s players fought back at 19-19. The last moments of the match were a real “cat-and-mouse game”, but the home side kept cool and grabbed the bronze medals.

“We were fighting for a bronze medal, because a medal is always a medal. Although we dreamed of a grand finale in front of this great audience who created an amazing atmosphere here. I want to emphasize that this team deserved the final. This is a team that does not promote itsef, that is very humble. This is a team that is eager to work. Honestly speaking, after this semi-final, I can say that this bronze can taste like gold.”

Daniel Pliński
Head coach of Poland

"Although we came here for more, I am proud that we have fulfilled the minimum plan, and we have a medal. Especially that we played in front of this amazing crowd - I played a lot in the underage categories, but it was definitely the best tournament ever. I'm extremely proud that this event was held in our country. I will always give my best to make the Polish fans proud of us."

Michał Gierżot
Captain of Poland and Best Outside Hitter