Russia claim first world gold in five years at historic 2018 VNL Finals

Monday 9th of July 2018

Lille, France, July 8, 2018. Russia ended France’s brilliant run throughout the season Sunday night in Lille, shutting out their opponents in the final, silencing the 10,000-strong partisan crowd and claiming the historic gold medal of the inaugural Men’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Russia, physical and strong, proved no match for France, although the hosts did try to get back in the game in the third set, before Dmitry Kovalev stuffed Thibault Rossard to bring it home (25-22, 25-20, 25-23).

It is Russia’s first gold in a world competition since they won the 2013 FIVB World League - though in the meantime they had earned the prestigious title of European champions in 2017.

Earlier on the closing day of the finals, USA bounced back from their semi-final defeat to France to shut out Brazil 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 28-26) for bronze. They must have wanted it a lot, because coach John Speraw stuck to his starting line-up without using a single substitute despite the second and third sets being as close as they get.

It is USA’s first podium appearance in a world competition since they picked up bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Russian superstar Maxim Mikhaylov added yet another accolade to his impressive collection 

Russia opposite Maxim Mikhaylov was named Most Valuable Player of the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League, after he piloted Russia to a spectacular win over hosts France in the final of the competition. Mikhaylov leads a star-studded Dream Team of the VNL finals, including the players who shone throughout this thrilling final win.

Thirty-year-old Mikhaylov adds the VNL Most Valuable Player award to his already impressive collection of MVP titles. It is already his second such distinction of the season, after picking up the MVP award of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League with his club of Zenit KAZAN. 

2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Dream Team:

MVP: Maxim Mikhaylov (Russia)
Setter: Benjamin Toniutti (France)
Opposite: Matthew Anderson (USA)
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander (USA) and Dmitry Volkov (Russia)
Middle blockers: Dmitriy Muserskiy (Russia) and Kevin Le Roux (France)
Libero: Jénia Grebennikov (France)

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