Stunning U-turn victory over Serbia keeps Poland’s World Cup hopes alight

The victory over Serbia puts Poland through to the next stage of the world championships. Maciej Kulczyński/PAP

Poland demolished Serbia 3-0 on Sunday, keeping their world cup hopes alight.

Following a dismal performance on Friday against Argentina (2-3) and on Saturday against France (1-3), the team was on the verge of being volleyed out of the championships.

But a spectacular U-turn performance by Poland on Sunday defeating Serbia (25-17, 25-16 and 25-14) puts them through to the next stage of the world championships.

Before their match with Argentina the undefeated Poles seemed to be the favorites.

The first set, won 25-16, confirmed that, yet as the match progressed the consecutive sets got harder and more even.

As Poland began making a series of mistakes, Argentina seized the opportunity to take the second and third sets, 19-25 and 23-25.

Poland crawled back to equalize in the fourth set 25-23 before losing the tie-break 14-16.

Attacker Bartosz Kurek said after the game: “Why did we lose this match? I don’t know. Thanks to us that we even led to this result, because generally as a team we played very poorly.

“We lowered our standard compared to the previous matches. I hope we will bounce back very quickly and present ourselves better tomorrow. We know what is the situation and what we have to improve to correct the consistency of our play.”

Saturday’s match against France started on a hopeful note with Poland taking one set, but collapsed under a bombardment of serves and impressive finishes from France’s Earvin Ngapeth.

With all to play for against Serbia, Poland came out fighting blasting their way to a 3-0 victory.

Coach Vital Heynen told reporters after the match: “I’m very impressed by my team’s play and in all elements. I didn’t think they could surprise me like this. They played a lot better than I expected and definitely better than in the last match.

“Even when they made mistakes, they held their heads high and mobilized. I haven’t seen them playing at this level during this championship. I don’t know how this transformation happened and how we will play in the next game, but if we keep this up, we can still achieve a lot in this tournament.”

Poland will face Serbia on Thursday, September 27th and Italy, one of the hosts of the World Championship, on the next day.