Poland Down Hosts in Five-Set
Porto, Portugal, May 22, 2004 - Poland moved to within touching
distance of the Olympic Games on Saturday when they downed hosts
Portugal in a five set thriller for their second win of the
Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Porto.
Pic: Gruszka (POL) hits against the
The 25-18, 18-25, 27-29, 25-19, 15-12 victory leaves Poland as
the only unbeaten side in the competition and a win on Sunday
against Kazakhstan, who have lost both their games without
claiming a set, will guarantee them a spot in Athens.
Portugal must beat Venezuela in their final game and hope Poland
lose to Kazakhstan to stand any chance of reaching their first
Earlier, Venezuela defeated a much-improved Kazakhstan 25-23,
25-21, 25-21 to give themselves an outside chance of reaching
“It was a game full of emotion,” said Poland coach Stanislaw
Gosciniak. “I suspected this would be the case so I told my
players to be ready for it and be prepared to fight to the end.
“I counted on their experience at the end and they showed it in
the fifth set, especially when we were 5-8 down. They played
Portugal, who defeated the Poles in the last World Championships,
had their chances of claiming a famous victory and securing
their first ever spot in an Olympic Games.
But a number of errors in the tiebreak, in which Poland’s Piotr
Gruszka was outstanding, allowed the Poles back into the match.
“We gave everything we had, but some mistakes in the fifth set
cost us dear,” said Portugal’s Brazilian coach Juan Diaz.
Poland, Volleyball gold medallists at the 1976 Olympics in
Montreal, face Kazakhstan in the opening match on Sunday,
followed by Venezuela versus Portugal.