Serbia were one of just two teams to not lose a set in the Pool Phase

The last six matches of the Pool Phase of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Katowice, Poland, on Wednesday, determined the eight matchups of the Round of 16 of the tournament, which will be played from September 3-6.

With 16 of the 24 national teams that started the event last week still in contention, the elimination round is set to begin with eight exciting duels – Poland vs. Tunisia, Slovenia vs. Germany, Italy vs. Cuba, Serbia vs. Argentina, Brazil vs. Iran, France vs. Japan, the Netherlands vs. Ukraine and USA vs. Türkiye.

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

Half of the 16 teams that advanced to the elimination round were on the court on Wednesday and Serbia left one of the strongest impressions. The Europeans remained in excellent form and ended their Pool A campaign in Katowice with no sets dropped following a 3-0 (29-27, 25-15, 25-17) win over Tunisia.

Star outside hitter Uros Kovacevic led the Serbian offence with 15 points (13 kills, two aces), while middle blocker Marko Podrascanin and opposite Dusan Petkovic added 11 each. Opposite Hamza Nagga produced 12 points for the Africans with 11 kills and one ace.

“They started the match very well - and we didn’t - and that set us up for a difficult first set,” Kovacevic reacted. “Our plan was to start aggressively, but we didn’t and in the end, we won the set because we had more experience. The next two sets were better for us.”


Veteran Conte was Argentina's third-best scorer against the Egyptians

Argentina, on the other hand, had to give everything they had in order to make it to the elimination round from Pool F in Ljubljana. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists entered the last day of pool play under pressure, after consecutive five-set defeats to Iran and the Netherlands. They were on the right side of another tie-breaker, however, this time, against Egypt, to win 3-2 (27-25, 26-28, 24-26, 25-17, 15-6) and secure their spot in the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

The Argentineans got most of their offensive production from opposite Bruno Lima, with 23 points, middle blocker Agustin Loser, with 19, and outside hitter Facundo Conte, with 18. On the Egyptian side, outside hitter Ahmed Shafik led the way with 16 points.

“It was a very difficult match,” Loser commented. “We knew we were playing for qualification, so we had to deal with a lot of pressure. That was a problem in some periods of the match, but we managed to play our game in the big moments and take the win. Our team has a really strong fighting spirit, we never give up and keep playing even in the difficult moments, and we’ll take it to the Round of 16.”

Serbians and Argentineans played each other in the opening week of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League, on June 10, and the Europeans won a thrilling five-set battle in Ottawa, Canada.