Brazil became the first team to secure a ticket to the semifinals of the 2021 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League after defeating Italy, Monday, on the opening day of the last week of pool play and advance beyond the reach of the other contenders for the Final Four, as the competition continues at Italy’s Adriatic resort of Rimini.
Poland also advanced to 11-3 and remain second in the standings, but Slovenia never cease to amaze at this VNL and remain firmly in third place with two rounds of pool play remaining.
Slovenia came back twice from a set down and rallied in the fourth to cancel two match points of USA for a four-set finish, as Jan Kozamernik delivered a thundering ace on Thomas Jaeschke to bring Slovenia ahead and another by Gregor Ropret on Taylor Sander to force a tie-break.
Then, Slovenia came from behind in the fifth to just edge past the Americans, top scorer of the match on 27 points Klemen Cebulj putting the ball away for the last point, off the hands of Matt Anderson.
Earlier, USA had fended off two set points of Slovenia before closing the first on their own fourth attempt with a quick kill by Sander from the middle.
This leaves VNL rookies Slovenia in thrid place of the standings, poised and ready to punch their ticket to the Final Four in their last remaining matches against Japan and Bulgaria.
France, Russia and Serbia, meanwhile, are all racing to catch up and claim their own spots in the semifinals after their wins on Monday.