U19 European champions Poland will be at the FIVB Volleyball Boys' U19 World Championship in Argentina this summer
Sakarya, Turkey, April 13, 2015 - Poland defeated Italy 3-1 (25-15, 25-13, 25-27, 25-21) in a remake of the Pool I match between the two teams to claim the U19 European Championship in Sakarya, Turkey on Sunday.
The top six teams from the competition - Poland, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Russia and Bulgaria - have all qualified for this year’s FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Argentina, with the Czech Republic claiming the last ticket to this year’s European Youth Olympic Festival after winning the seventh-place final against Serbia.
This is Poland’s second title in the competition, following their gold medal performance in the 2005 edition. Poland have claimed eight medals in this event, with gold in 2005 and 2015, silver in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2013 and bronze in 1995 and 1997. Italy were also vying for their second title after topping the charts in 1997, but had to be content with silver.
Hosts Turkey ended their campaign with a 3-1 win (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18) over Germany in the bronze medal match, to secure their first podium finish since the U19 men’s European Championship was established in 1995.
The final between Poland and Italy saw the Poles take the first two sets 25-15 and 25-13. The third set, however, went to Italy, who pushed their opponents to 27-25. In the fourth set, Italy began well with attacks by Matteo Maiocchi for a provisional 5-1. The Azzurrini moved the charts first to 19-15 and then to 21-18, but Poland turned the score around at 24-22 and Jakub Ziobrowski claimed the final point to claim #EuroVolleyU19M gold for his team.
Poland coach Sebastian Pawlik said: "I feel great. Congrats to my players as they had an amazing European Championship and played really well. Today our good serve made the difference especially in the first and second sets. I didn’t expect a game like this, but Italy showed their great class after that and gave us a very hard fight. To win this European Championship is a great success for volleyball in Poland. I think many people were watching us."
Poland captain Jakub Kochanowski said: "I don’t know what to say and find no words for it. I’m so happy that we won the European Championship without losing a game, it is an incredible feeling. Italy played good and with an extremely high block, but we found an answer and won the game. For now, I can’t really understand what happened; it’s so unreal, yet amazing."
Italy coach Mario Barbiero said: "I am happy with our general performance - but for today I am angry, because the game was in our hands in the fourth set. Poland is a strong team. They won with two or three strong balls in the end. The World Championship will be very competitive because Brazil, Argentina and Iran will all be there. I believe we will have a good tournament in Argentina too."
Italy captain Gianluca Galassi said: "Today we did not perform our best. We should have been more aggressive. We did not believe in our chances. It is our fault that they won the first two sets. We should have forced them to a tie-break. The victory was within our possibilities but we could not make it happen. After all, we had a good European Championship. This was a special tournament and opportunity to grow for our team. The future stars of European Volleyball participated in this Championship. I thank all of my teammates."Individual Awards
MVP: Bartosz Kwolek (Poland)
Best Scorer: Maximilian Auste (Germany)
Best Blocker: Aleksei Kononov (Russia)
Best Receiver: Burak Cevik (Turkey)
Best Spiker: Abdullah Cam (Turkey)
Best Server: Matej Smidl (Czech Republic)
Best Setter: Kamil Droszynski (Poland)
Best Libero: Alessandro Piccinelli (Italy)Final standing
7. Czech Republic