Poland snatch bronze after shutting out Argentina
Italy triumphed with the title and the gold medals of the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship. At home in Cagliari, they dropped only two sets (both in the semifinal against Poland) in eight matches played to celebrate as first-time U21 world champions, confirming their achievement at the U19 World Championship in Tunisia two years ago, when they also topped the podium. In Sunday’s gold medal match at Pirastu hall, the home team shut out Russia. Poland took the bronze.
Italy were well in control of the first set of the final, but in the second they had to come back from a four-point deficit and win it on a three-point run at the end. Five points in a row gave the Italians a 10-6 lead in the third set and they never looked back to win the match by 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-20). Alessandro Michieletto was the best scorer of the match on 18 points for the winners.
Poland had few issues to deal with in the bronze medal match earlier on Sunday in Cagliari. They delivered an emphatic 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-19) shutout of Argentina, outplaying the opponents in all point-scoring elements. Polish opposite Dawid Dulski produced the 21-point match high.
Italy’s outside Alessandro Michieletto was named Most Valuable Player of the U21 World Championship. Another seven players were honoured on the Dream Team of the tournament. Four of them were also Italians - setter Paolo Porro, outside hitter Tomasso Rinaldi, middle blocker Nicola Cianciotta and libero Damiano Catania. The remaining three spots went to the other three teams that made the semifinals – Russia’s opposite Roman Murashko, Poland’s middle Karol Urbanowicz and Argentina’s outside Manuel Armoa.
"I am living a dream now! I am thankful to all my teammates, to the staff, because it wasn't easy. It was a complicated tournament for us, despite the results that might have looked like easy victories from the outside. Yesterday, we won in the semifinal, but we knew that we weren't perfect. Today, we showed our volleyball,” MVP Michieletto said. “I want to thank again to my teammates and the staff, who took care of me and helped me work in the best possible conditions, so that I can support the team as well."
FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship - Final Standings
FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship - MVP and Dream Team
Most Valuable Player: Alessandro Michieletto (Italy)
Setter: Paolo Porro (Italy)
Opposite: Roman Murashko (Russia)
Outside Hitter: Manuel Armoa (Argentina)
Outside Hitter: Tomasso Rinaldi (Italy)
Middle Blocker: Karol Urbanowicz (Poland)
Middle Blocker: Nicola Cianciotta (Italy)
Libero: Damiano Catania (Italy)