That was the most awaited match of this year’s World League. The gold medal match between USA and POLAND took last July 8, 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Poland who started to step in the final round and won the bronze medal last year, outdueled the Americans in 3 straight sets (3-0), 25-17,26-24,25-20. USA, the Olympic Champ didn’t have enough juice to defeat the Polish team. Though it was a tough set 2 (26-24), Poland managed to win ahead USA.
That was a happy moment because team Polska showed great form to spike and kill those volleyballs. A big thanks to their setter who set the ball very well. Bartosz Kurek was chosen MVP. Congratulations! You should not miss to watch him in the 2012 London Olympics.
For USA, a repeat of 2008 when they won the World League and Olympic titles did not happen this time but the silver medal – which adds to their one gold and two bronze to become the fifth most successful country in the World League behind Brazil (16 medals), Russia (14), Italy (13) and Cuba (9) – was impressive considering the start of their World League campaign when they lost three matches in a row.
“I thought, in the beginning of this tournament, that our team would not be in this position, but our play improved,” USA captain Clayton Stanley said. “I am disappointed for losing the final match, but we will see what we did wrong and learn from our mistakes.”
Earlier in the day, Cuba beat Bulgaria in a superb five set thriller 3-2 (25-18, 19-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12) for their first World League medal since a bronze in 2005. It is Cuba’s third World League bronze in total and adds to their one title and five silvers. The 2010 World Championship runners up supplied further evidence of their outstanding talent. For Bulgaria it was their fourth, fourth-place finish after finished in a similar vein in 1994, 2004 and 2006.
(All photos are courtesy from http://www.fivb.org)