FIVB Men's World Championship 2022, News.


Captain Urnaut celebrates a point with his teammates

Slovenia overcame a shaky start to turn things around, defeat tournament sensations Ukraine and advance to the semifinals of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2022 in front of thousands of home fans in the country’s capital Ljubljana on Wednesday.

The loud atmosphere at the packed Arena Storzice saw the home team have a difficult start, but once nerves were settled, the Slovenians took control of the match to secure a 3-1 (18-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23) victory over the Ukrainians in the quarterfinals.

· Watch all FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

In the semifinals, set to take place on Saturday, in Katowice, Poland, the Slovenians will play reigning European champions Italy, who eliminated Olympic champions France earlier in Ljubljana. The encounter will be a rematch of last year’s European Championship gold medal match.

Competing in the World Championship for just the second time, Slovenia have already improved on the 12th-place finish they obtained in their debut in 2018. The team coached by Gheorge Cretu is now just one win away from their first medal in the event.

“This is for sure our biggest success as a team so far,” captain Tine Urnaut reflected after the match. “We came from the bottom and we’re very happy to have such fantastic support from our fans here. We’ll fight for each and every ball in the semifinal and we’ll see what happens.”


The Slovenians played in front of a packed Arena Storzice in Ljubljana

Making their first World Championship appearance, Ukraine did better than Slovenia in kills (54 to 50), blocks (nine to seven) and aces (seven to four). However, their 33 mistakes to Slovenia’s 21 created the biggest difference between the two teams.

Outside hitter Klemen Čebulj was a key piece in the Slovenian victory. The 30-year-old veteran carried the team’s offence with 23 points, registering 19 kills, one block and three aces.

Team captain Urnaut, Jan Kozamernik and Alen Pajenk also had remarkable performances with the veteran outside hitter adding 11 points (all in kills) and the middle blockers chipping in nine points each.

“It was a very tough match because Ukraine has been playing really, really good volleyball,” Urnaut added. “But playing with this amazing crowd, it felt like we had three extra players on the court. Nothing really worked for us on the first set, but we managed to put more pressure on them and to play with more discipline after that and things changed.”

Ukrainian captain and outside hitter Oleh Plotnyskyi was the match’s top scorer with 30 points (21 kills, four blocks, five aces). Opposite Vasyl Tupchii also had a good performance, contributing with 12 points of his own (ten kills, one block, one ace).


Plotnyskyi's 30 points weren't enough for Ukraine to advance

The quarterfinal round will be concluded on Thursday, with two matches to be played in Gliwice, Poland. In the first, which is set to start at 17.30 local time (15.30 GMT), South American rivals Brazil and Argentina will face each other. Later, at 21.00 local time (19.00 GMT), hosts Poland will meet the United States.