The Gold medal match of the 2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship lived up to the name as it took Serbia five sets of intense Volleyball to edge Italy and claim the World Championship title for the first time in their history. The Netherlands lost to China in the Bronze medal match, yet achieved their best ever result in a major global competition – to go with their fourth place from the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Both Italy and Serbia took turns at claiming set wins in the final match at Yokohama Arena. The Azzurre claimed the first set, but the Serbian side dominated the second, but after winning the third set the Italians could no longer interfere with the focus and determination of the reigning European champions, who showed how badly they wanted the Gold medals. With a 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12) win, Serbia wrote a completely new page in the history book of Volleyball in their country as the previous best achievement for the Balkan country was bronze at the 2006 World Championship – and silver from the Rio 2016 Olympics. Serbia are only the third European team to claim the global crown, after the USSR / Russia did so seven times (1952, 1956, 1960, 1970, 1990, 2006, 2010) and Italy once (in 2002).
Even though Italy could not repeat their gold medal winning performance from 16 years ago in Berlin, the Azzurre celebrated their second best result to date – and second podium finish in the history of the FIVB World Championship.
“It’s hard to find words. We are happy and proud. It was our dream. I have been the coach since 2002. We saw Russia and the U.S. win golds at previous World Championships and thought it would be great if we could do it. This is the biggest success in the history of Serbia women’s volleyball. When I took over we were ranked something like 100th in the world.” said Zoran Terzic, the Serbian National Team coach.
“I am very proud of this historic victory. We played good volleyball. It was amazing. They fought well until the end. I’m proud we came back. It was tough. To be the champions is our dream come true. We have some special energy and have played together for a long time,” says Maja Ognjenovic, the captain of the team.
CEV/World of Volleyball