Artur Gac, Interia: We saw a very good and great performance by many of “Biało-Czerwonych” against Russia. The first group was played privately as if the strengths of the different levels of play were competing.
Joanna Merrick: – In this duel, I really liked the performance of the Polish national team. In the end we started playing as a team and we were really good in every aspect. Even when there was a pause in the second set and our midfielders couldn’t finish the attack, the winger, especially Wilfredo Leon, took the brunt of the attack. This is the team we want to watch, that serves well, plays well on the net and looks great on the block.
Historically, we know from many difficult battles with the Russian team how difficult it is to defeat them mentally. Here I had the impression that at some point we mentally began to dominate the volleyball players of “Sporna”.
It was a game that we were actually better than the Russians in every aspect of the first ball. In the first set, we surprised them with a very good serve and a good attack that they couldn’t achieve in defence. This was completely absent from the Russian team in the first match. Somewhere sometimes they tried to break us, but on that day we were at their disposal out of their reach, which they could not handle at all. We just didn’t let them do that.
In spite of everything, some angst accompanied you to the end, after all, we associate a lot of such matches, when a match for two groups goes to one goal, and then suddenly the tide begins to turn?
Honestly, not this time. I watched this match in peace, because I saw a team on the field. It was a volleyball that our team was already used to, and what was missing from the Olympics, for example. There was no skill in Tokyo that I saw against Russia.
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After the Olympics, it was said that we will need a match as soon as possible that will restore the spirit and morale of the national team.
I think this tournament builds our team up from the start. The first step to rebuilding a strong and strong team was the duel with Serbia, which they won 3-2. After all, we faced the current European champion, so the victory had added value.
It is possible that in the semi-finals we will face Slovenia and this match will undoubtedly have an additional flavor, after all, we lost to this team in the semi-finals of the European Championship two years ago. Although the two Czech teams ranked after the tournament, they cannot be underestimated at all.
– Quite frankly? I fear this meeting a little more than the clash with Russia (smile). No matter who we are facing. The Czechs are the inspiration for these champions, after all, they drove out freshly baked French Olympic champions, conquering us in Tokyo. The 3:0 score should be impressive, especially considering the third set trajectory that finished 34:32. As for the possible match against Slovenia, the history of meetings with this team is known to all of us.
Vital Heinen is not likely to be our coach anymore, but many people are still wondering if a change is needed. And what is your ophthalmologist like: should the Belgian hold his own, does the formula look run down from the side?
I think the current European Championship will definitely rebuild the good spirit of our team. However, I get the impression that something has ended there and it’s time for a change.
Something burnt out, something gone?
– I think so, that’s how I feel. Of course, the last sentence will be the property of the guild leaders, and it’s time to make the decision for both teams, because the exact same choices are for the women’s team. The women’s representation also comes after the target event and with it the long tenure of coach Jacek Nauruki. I think after so many years with Coach Noruki, it’s also time to give summaries and make important decisions.
I understand that you imply that there is a need for new blood in the female employees?
– I’m waiting and I hope to see an acting that all the girls will gladly ride to. I think it is a great honor to be able to represent the country. I said it once and now I can’t help but repeat it. That is why I hope that the supervisors of the Polish Federation will make such decisions that make this happen.
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