Poland is bidding to win their first Men’s European Volleyball Championship since 2009, based on the early stages of the 2023 event in Italy, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Israel.
In what has been a dominant start to the competition, Poland won all its opening four matches in Pool C, with victories coming against the Netherlands, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Denmark.
Poland Now Favourites to Go All the Way
Heading into the round of 16, Poland is the +200 favorite in the online betting for the tournament. If they continue to produce the same level of performance as they did in the group stage, those odds are going to look great at the end of the competition. It will also be their second major success of the year after winning the Volleyball Nations League back in July.
Lukasz Kaczmarek leads the way in scoring for Poland. He has recorded 31 points, with a set average of 4.43. Marcin Janusz has also impressed in the tournament, as he is third in the setter ranking with an efficiency of 57.97%. That is only bettered by Spain’s Ruben Lorente Camacho and North Macedonia’s Filip Despotovski.
Poland will face Belgium in the last 16 as they look to book their spot in the quarterfinals. That game will take place in Bari, Italy. Belgium finished fourth in Pool A, with a 3-1 success against Estonia helping them to secure their place in the knockout stages.
Victory in the European Volleyball Championship will help Poland cement their first-place position in the FIVB world rankings. It will also be a big boost to them ahead of the Olympics in France in 2024. The last time they won the gold medal at the Olympics was in Montreal, Canada in 1976.
Hosts Italy Lead the Challenge Against Poland
Italy, who are third behind Poland and the United States respectively in the world rankings will be hoping they can make home advantage count in the knockout stages of the European Volleyball Championship. The defending champions have looked strong in the group stages, finishing in first place in Pool A. They did not drop a set in their opening four matches.
— European Volleyball (@CEVolleyball) September 4, 2023
Yuri Romano has led the Italian team in scoring with 52 points. He is averaging 4.33 per set in this competition. Simone Giannelli has also stood out for the hosts. The Italian has a 57.45% efficiency in the setter ranking.
Italy is chasing their eighth European title this year. They defeated Slovenia 3-2 in the final in 2021 in what was a closely contested game. It was the 11th time in the last 17 renewals that Italy had reached the final of the men’s tournament.
The world champions are on course to face Poland in the final in Rome on September 16. Should the top two seeds get there, it will set up a mouth-watering encounter between the best two teams in Europe.
The top three teams from this year’s European Volleyball Championship will qualify for the 2025 World Volleyball Championship, so there is a lot at stake in the latter stages of this year’s tournament for the 16 teams still involved.