Poland became the last team to advance to the final round of the 2019 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Women's Nations League after Brazil knocked out Belgium on the penultimate day of pool play.
The Poles join Brazil, Italy, Turkey, the United States and hosts China, who had already secured their ticket for the final phase of the competition in Nanjing from July 3 to 7.
Going into today’s action, Poland, Japan, the Dominican Republic and Belgium were all still in contention for the last available spot in the final round.
Malwina Smarzek top scored with 35 points as Poland held off the Dominican Republic’s attempted comeback for a 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 17-15 win in Pool 20 at Boryeong Gymnasium in South Korea, putting the Caribbean side out of the race.
Japan’s hopes were shattered when they fell to a 18-25, 18-25, 23-25 loss against South Korea in the second game of the day in Pool 20.
It was only South Korea’s second win this season and was led by Kim Yeon-koung and Kim Hee-jin.
That left only Belgium in the running, but they had a mountain to climb, including beating overall ranking leaders Brazil in Pool 17 at Başkent Volleyball Hall in Ankara.
Unbelievable game! After a huge resistance by Dominican Republic 🇩🇴, Poland 🇵🇱 gets the win by 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 17-15) 👏— Volleyball World (@FIVBVolleyball) June 19, 2019
Relive this awesome match 👉 https://t.co/KO2zm1SGGS#BePartOfTheGame #volleyball #VNL #VNLWomen @PolskaSiatkowka @VoleiFemRD pic.twitter.com/AcRk8sCK7R
It was not to be, however, as 14 points from Ana Paula Borgo Bedani Guedes and another 13 from Gabriela Braga Guimaraes helped Brazil to win the game 25-23, 25-15, 25-18.
Hosts Turkey were beaten 19-25, 25-17, 25-23, 15-25, 14-16 in today's other Pool 17 clash.
There were also wins today for hosts China and Germany in Pool 18 at Beilun Gymnasium in Ningbo.
China defeated Bulgaria 25-18, 25-19, 25-16, while Germany overcame Serbia 25-14, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17.
Today’s first match in Pool 19, being held at Team Sports Palace in Yekaterinburg, the US beat The Netherlands 25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-9.
This was followed by a victory for Thailand, who came from behind to defeat hosts Russia 19-25, 25-13, 25-16, 25-22.
Pool play is due to conclude tomorrow.