Libero Pawel Zatorski runs to join his teammates in celebration as Poland beat Slovenia to make the final of the 2021 FIVB Men's Volleyball League.

Poland had to work hard to earn their place in Sunday's final of the 2021 FIVB Men's Volleyball Nations League as they shut out rookies Slovenia 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-23) in Saturday's second semifinal at Italy's Adriatic resort of Rimini.

This sets up a clash between the reigning world champions Poland and Olympic champions Brazil who had earlier shut out France in the first semifinal.

Bartosz Kurek with a killing efficiency of 61% (14/23) and an overall match high of 17 points was instrumental to Poland's win. Slovenia struggled to cope with the intense blocking of their opponents which yielded 14 points (four by Fabian Drzyzga, three each by Kurek and Piotr Nowakowski).

A very rare break point on a block by Michal Kubiak on Toncek Stern had given Poland a two-point lead midway through the first set.

But T. Stern quickly redeemed himself with back-to-back aces on Wilfredo Leon taking Slovenia ahead 14-13 forcing coach Vital Heynen to take his first timeout.

A further point on a kill by Klemen Cebulj after a dig by Stern immediately brought Slovenia two up - but they couldn't carry it into the twenties.

Back-to-back blocks by Fabian Drzyzga on Cebulj from the right and by Nowakowski on Stern from the left, plus a series of attacks sent wide by the Slovenians sealed the deal for Poland.


Mateusz Bieniek and Lukasz Kaczmarek go up to try and stop Slovenia's Klemen Cebulj as Poland advance to Sunday's final of the 2021 FIVB Men's Volleyball Nations League.

Slovenia, however, were not throwing in the towel quite yet. As Heynen started the second with Nowakowski in place of Jakub Kochanowski, Slovenia quickly opened with a three-point lead extending this to four on an ace by Stern on Kubiak by the first technical timeout.

A 4-1 run by Poland took care of that to draw level at 9-9 and the two teams mostly exchanged sideouts until an ace by Leon on Jani Kovacic saw Poland into the second technical timeout two points ahead.

An ace by Drzyzga on Cebulj made it four by 20-16 and Poland just held on till the end of the set.

It remained tight into the third, Poland just ahead by two at the second technical timeout and Slovenia keeping up, until an ace by Mateusz Bieniek on Tine Urnaut made it three. Poland continued to sideout as necessary to close the match, rather unceremoniously as Mitja Gasparini sent the last serve on the net.

It is the first ever appearance in a VNL final for both Poland and Brazil. The two had met in the bronze medal match of the 2019 edition with Poland eventually making it on the podium.

VNL rookies Slovenia will meet France in Sunday's bronze medal match, prior to the final