Volleyball: Poland number one in FIVB ranking for first time

The Polish national team defeated France 3:1 (21:25, 25:22, 25:21, 25:22) in the Volleyball Nations League. Sunday's victory saw Poland rise to number one in the FIVB ranking for the first time.

In their previous match, Poland swept aside Bulgaria 3:0 (25:19, 25:19, 25:23) but were earlier defeated by Italy 3:1 (21:25, 25:23, 25:20, 25:20).

The French had been in top form during their Nations League campaign, having won three out of three of their matches prior to facing the Poles, dropping just one set - to Serbia - along the way.

With a few major stars missing, the Polish national team caused a major upset in defeating the Olympic champions. Although the situation had initially looked ominous for Poland when the French swiftly took the opening set.

The Red-Whites stormed back to take the next three sets, finding a level of unmatched consistency. The top scorer, with 21 points was Indykpol AZS Olsztyn attacker Karol Butryn.

Poland’s Nations League campaign is going relatively well so far with three wins and one loss. They face Brazil next on June 22 in Sofia. That will be followed by a series of matches against Australia, Canada and USA. At the end of the intercontinental phase on July 5-10 they will have to contend with Iran, China, Netherlands and Slovenia in Gdansk.

The victory over France marked a major milestone in the history of Polish volleyball, propelling them to the summit of the FIVB ranking for the first time. Poland currently has 285 points, 15 more than second-placed Brazil, who surprisingly lost to China 0:3 on Sunday. Russia are third, but have been excluded from the League of Nations - 352 points, whilst France lie fourth.