2018 Volleyball Nations League (VNL)

  • France-USA is one good match, you can feel the quality

    I watched parts of the match Bulgaria vs Germany and yes, intensity and individual class in this match is visibly way above the latter. Not that surprising but still.....

  • There's no chance of winning for Italy if they don't move Zaytsev to pos 4.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda

  • Poletaev was terrible but it's only a matter of time he will get used to Kobzar. Italy's average-sized OH didn't help at all. Just couldn't get through Russia's intimidating block.Zaytsev did his best but a man is only a man.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda

  • Lanza has been playing really poorly in the last matches. Cant believe his level has dropped so much! Even in reception.
    Giannelli is also underperforming, like in the match against Argentina, Canada and the sets he played against Japan.


    Another problem for Italy is the second setter too. Baranowciz can be a good sub for Giannelli, sometimes he plays better than Simone, but when Baranowicz loses concentration, he can be very painful to watch. However, I still prefer him over Spirito.


    Maruotti is still surprising me. He has performed better than Randazzo, Antonov and maybe Lanza too.


    Glad to see Poletaev back :box:

  • I agree with Maruotti . It's true he had a lot of errors in attack but out of system and against the russian block... I wouldn't blame him for that.


    Parodi made some serves count for Italy but the form is not there yet. I don't know if he'll ever reached that atleast with his reception before WCH but I am very doubtful of his participation. His place could be given to a defensive specialist like Rossini or Balaso and I think Nelli will be more useful to Italy.


    Lanza is a mess. His stats may make you think he played very well but some of the balls were forced to Zaytsev because Giannelli didn't trust him at all.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda

  • Is Juantorena's absence because of tiredness or are there some internal problems? Because today he boldly shared a photo from Cuban beach. Blengini avoided to talk about him in last interviews and press conference that makes me think maybe it is not all about tiredness (remember Canada match disagreement)

  • Juantorena had an elbow injury from week 1. I don't know how long it takes for that to heal but it's possible Blengini didn't want to worsen his condition after the argentina leg.


    I still believe Zaytsev should've been part of week 3 or 4 of VNL. He's not young anymore but I don't think he's the type to break easily. Juantorena gets irritated so fast so the rest would've helped him cool off.


    Blengini made poor plans after week 2. Baranowicz should've come with Giannelli all the time especially after that long journey to Japan, there's not a lot of time to acclimate the team with a new setter like Spirto.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda

  • Italy had chances to win 2nd and 3rd sets but Zaytsev couldn't do it alone. Cester I feel performs better in club than in NT.


    For Russia, Poletaev is kinda rusty but I guess that's normal after not playing for a while he will eventually find his groove. If you take out Dima, Russia was playing with their "youngsters" and managed to win against Italy. Good decision by the coach to not let Mihkaylov play this early and preserve him for Final 6

  • Does Grbic want to win? Changing lineups in a very important group is risky.


    I still believe they can win this but the way they are playing... this could go bad for them in any second. Italy could reap the benefits if they are not careful.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda

  • Some observations..


    1) There seems to be an increasing separation between the top 3 and the other 4 (including Italy). It will be interesting to see in this season how this balance will play out.


    2) Poland really need Kubiak. His ability to keep his team on the front foot gives the other players a lot of confidence.


    3) Brazil hasn't really improved much. Their blocking is probably currently the worst among the teams in the top 6 right now. Bruno seems to be having a loss of form - he lacks precision and clarity of thought during play. This is worrying given William's height disadvantage..the difference between him and William is huge at the moment.


    4) Heynen is still the most irritating coach - and he doesnt seem to be compensating for Kubiak's absence by giving his team real direction.


    5) France have the deepest roster among all teams - and the confidence in the bench players given how much time they have had on court is really showing. USA game showed real depth.


    6) USA still need to find a way to gain consistency and manage errors, they seem to make the most errors among the teams - and their serving weapon is also their undoing. Where is Taylor Sander?


    7)

  • 2. I hope Kubiak come back in the final, but it maybe not due to his eyes condition as someone already confirmed. Actually, he is not an excellent OH, but his consitent and leading will make different. I saw Mika played well some previous mathes, wish he has good form in final.


    6. I beleive US now can beat any teams but can be defeated by any in top 6 as well :wall: Sander is comming back home with wife and waiting for his first baby :D :D