15. 07. 2019

Final Six hosts have once again fallen to Russia: “Zbornaya” win back-to-back VNL title

Source: volleyball.world; Photo: volleyball.world

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Russia won back-to-back FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League title and, again, they did it by defeating the Final Six hosts in the final: Russia – USA 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20) in front of 4,375 spectators at the Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago, Illinois.

 

For the second year in a row, Russia won the gold medal in the VNL, preventing the last year’s bronze medalists, the United States, to conquer a world level tournament on home soil even after 35 years (last USA’s gold medal at home was in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games) but also to lift the first major world level trophy after 4 years (2015 FIVB World Cup).

Russia are definitely VNL hosts killers as they once again beat the team whose country organized the Final Six in the final (last year it was France), becoming the only national team to win the VNL in 2 years of the existence of the FIVB top annual world-level tournament. The two teams met in the pool stage of the Finals, two days ago, when the USA prevailed in straight sets.

Russia’s top scorer in the Final Six before the gold medal encounter, Viktor Poletaev, struggled to score a point for nearly an entire first set. He was unable to score even after seven consecutive attempts, making his first point at 18-all.

 

Crucial moments for the outcome of the match occurred in the third set when Russia came back twice after a 5-point deficit and took the lead in the sets of a 2-1.

The fourth set was the most unpredictable of all as each team led several times by 2 points or more, but lost its advantage. When Russia earned a three-point advantage on the second technical time-out, it was all over for the North Americans.

Dmitry Volkov was Russia’s most prolific player with 17 points, while Ivan Iakovlev made 4 kill blocks. Taylor Sander scored 20 points for the USA.

In addition to the gold medal, the “Zbornaya” received a million dollars in prize money from the FIVB.

After the 2019 VNL final, an exhausting international volleyball season goes on. Next major competition in the FIVB calendar is the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in August and on September 13, the CEV European Championships will begin, in which Russia will defend the title as well.

Poland claim the bronze even without coach Heynen on the bench


 

Although they did not have their head coach Vital Heynen beside the bench as he returned to the country prior to the game, the rejuvenated Poland national team gave no chance to Brazil in the bronze medal match: 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-21). Thus, Brazil finished the second-ever edition of the VNL as fourth-placed, just like in 2018.

Bartosz Bednorz top-scored for Poland with 21 points, including 4 kill blocks. Brazil’s head coach Renan Dal Zotto was not happy with the performance of his wards and replaced two major players (Leal and Wallace) after the first two sets and Lucarelli already at the end of the opening set. Alan Souza scored 8 points for the “Seleção”.

2019 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League:

Bronze medal match:

Poland - Brazil 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-21)

Final:

Russia - USA 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20)

 

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