Plotnytskyi celebrates a point in Ukraine's first victory at the World Championship

Returning to the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship for the first time since 1998, Ukraine secured their first victory in this year’s edition of the tournament in an emphatic way, as the Europeans swept Tunisia in Katowice, Poland, on Monday.

Better from the service line (9 aces to one) and at the net (14 blocks to seven), the Ukrainians had control of the entire match, comfortably walking away from the Spodek arena with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-15) win against the reigning African champions.

· Watch all FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

The result significantly raised Ukraine’s chances of making it to the Round of 16 and improving from the tenth-place finish they obtained in their only World Championship appearance, 24 years ago. After falling to Serbia in their opening match in Pool A, the Europeans have now overcome Tunisia for second place and will make it to the next round if they defeat Puerto Rico on Wednesday at 20.30 local time (18.30 GMT).

Team captain Oleh Plotnytskyi, who produced a match-high 14 points with six kills, five aces and three blocks, left the court satisfied with the victory, but also concerned with the Ukrainian struggles in the final portion of the third set, when they were winning 24-10 and allowed the Tunisians to score five consecutive points before finally bringing the match to an end.

“It’s really nice to win our first match,” the 25-year-old outside hitter commented. “Our first goal here is to make it to the elimination round and we’ll leave everything on the court to make it happen against Puerto Rico. We feel really well in Poland, there were a lot of Ukrainian fans here supporting us and it's like a second home for us. But we can’t play the way we did in the final points of the third set. It's the World Championship and we can’t let that happen again. If it was against some other team, we could have lost.”


Plotnytskyi had a productive night in every aspect of his game

Besides Plotnytskyi, Poland also got great production from opposite Vasyl Tupchii, who had 12 points (all in kills), and middle blockers Maksym Drozd and Yurii Semeniuk, who tallied 11 points each, combining for nine kills, nine blocks and four aces.

The only Tunisian player to score in double digits was outside hitter Elyes Karamosli, who chipped in ten points, with nine kills and one block.

Also on Monday, Serbia topped Puerto Rico in straight sets (26-24, 25-21, 25-16). On Wednesday, the Europeans will play Tunisia at 17.30 local time (15.30 GMT).