Serbia will continue as the reigning world champions for another four years after the Europeans successfully defended the title they first won in 2018 on Saturday, triumphing at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.
The Serbians ended their undefeated 12-match campaign at the 19th edition of the tournament in an emphatic manner, sweeping (26-24, 25-22, 25-17) former FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Ranking leaders Brazil to claim gold and take their place on the podium again.
Earlier on Saturday, reigning Volleyball Nations League and European champions Italy dominated Olympic champions the United States to a straight-set (25-20, 25-25, 27-25) victory and took bronze, their third World Championship medal – the Europeans won gold in 2002 and silver in 2018.
The fourth victory for Serbia over Brazil in 22 international encounters made of them just the sixth nation to win back-to-back editions of the World Championship, joining the former USSR (1952, 1956, 1960), Japan (1982, 1967), China (1982, 1986), Cuba (1994, 1998) and Russia (2006, 2010).
Nine players who were part of the roster that won the title in 2018 returned to triumph again in 2022 – setter Bojana Drca, opposites Tijana Boskovic and Ana Bjelica, outside hitters Bianka Busa, Brankica Mihajlovic and Bojana Milenkovic, middle blockers Maja Aleksic and Jovana Stevanovic and libero Teodora Pusic – now under the leadership of head coach Daniele Santarelli.
“I’m speechless,” team captain Boskovic commented. “These girls, this team, this energy…We did it without losing a single match. I’m so happy and so proud to be part of this team. I want to thank everyone that supported us these past three weeks, especially my family.”