An already qualified Italy denied Belarus any attempts to join them in the top-eight stream at the FIVB Volleyball U20 Women’s World Championship in the Netherlands and Belgium. On the last competition day of Pool D in Kortrijk, the Italians shut out Belarus to stay unbeaten on top of the standings. In Sunday’s second match, Poland also outclassed Egypt in straight sets to claim the last remaining vacancy among the best eight teams of the tournament.

Italy finished their Pool D campaign unbeaten. On Sunday, they produced a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-21) shutout of Belarus, depriving the opponents of any further chances to move on to the top eight of the tournament and leaving it out to Poland and Egypt to determine the pool runner-up in a direct battle later in the day.

Belarus fought bravely throughout the game, but managed to match the opponents only in terms of aces scored (five each). The Italians delivered 13 kill blocks against seven for the Belarusians, and 37 successful spikes against 34. Italy’s Giorgia Frosini and Belarus’s Darya Vakulka shared the top scorer honours on 11 points apiece.

“We really played as a team today and can be proud of the way we kept fighting together,” Italy’s middle blocker Claudia Consoli said. “For the next round we need to grow a bit more, as individuals and as a team, because the matches will be at a very high level.”

Poland completely demolished the opponents in the first set, but in the second, the Egyptians made them work for it. The European side had to fight back from a solid deficit before edging ahead. Polish outside Julita Piasecka contributed the match high 17 points towards the eventual 3-0 (25-11, 25-23, 25-17) victory. Egypt’s Malak Elbehiry on 10 points was the only other player to reach the double digits in the game.

Poland outscored Egypt on all counts, most substantially in offence – 43 kills against 28. The stuff blocks were eight to four and the aces seven to five, both in favour of the winning side.

“We are very happy, because this is our first World Championship and we are in the top eight,” Piasecka said. “In this first round, we lost to Italy and we want our revenge for that loss. Now our new objective is to reach the top four.”