07.08.2022 - Vienna, Austria
The last match of the final day has begun: The Italian and Norwegian teams have made it to the Gold Medal Match and are now trying for the gold medal. On the Italian side, Rossi/Carambula will play first, facing Berntsen/Mol H.. Both teams presented themselves hot for the win.
In the first set, the teams had a battle of points until it was finally 5:5. From then on, the Italian men took the lead for the first time and held it until the technical timeout at 12:9. Norway struggled and took a timeout when the scoreboard showed 15:11. The Norwegian men were unable to close the gap. Rossi initiated the set point at 20:15 with a double block. The Italians won the first set easily.
In the second set, the Norwegians were ready to fight, attacking and grabbing the first point. The winners of the first set did not let this slip away and took the lead with 3 points in a row. The Norwegian men equalized with Mol H.'s service at 3:3. Team Norway requested a challenge at 4:3 for Italy, a block touch was suspected, but unsuccessfully. The Italians continued to keep their noses in front. Timeout for Norway at 6:3. In this set, too, the Italians initially crystallized as the better team. Rossi's blocks, 12 in all, were characteristic of his performance so far in the match. Norway got ready to attack after the technical timeout at 12:9 and managed to catch up a bit thanks to Berntsen's strong shots. Italy allowed themselves a break at a one-point lead at 14:13. The two teams gave each other nothing, and a renewed battle for points began. Tied at 16:16, the crowd in the stadium went wild. Mol H. emerged as the gamechanger. Norway managed to turn the tables and the first possible match point for the Norwegians came at 20:19. A moment that did not let the spectators in the packed stadium sit still. Everyone got up from their seats as Italy demanded a challenge. Net errors were challenged, to no avail. Norway took the second set 21:19.
So it went to a third set: Rossi continued to fire his block rate upwards. The Italians took control of the game again, time for a break for Norway at 5:2. The Vikings presented themselves fighting and were able to make up some points, until a 3-point deficit at 13:10. Timeout for Italy, once again gather strength and consult with the team coach for the last minutes of the game, was the plan. The stands were shaking. First match point for the Italians at 14:11, which was defended by the Norwegian team. All good things come in threes: the Italians took the victory at 15:13 on the third match point.
Cottafava/Nicolai and Sørum/Mol A. each got ready to take the following match win for their nation. Sørum botched the start of the set with a service into the net, but immediately made up for it with a pokey. Mol A. also proved in his usual manner with his killer blocks that he was ready to fight and thus secured the lead for Norway. But only for a short time, because Nicolai caught up with a service win to tie the score at 5:5. Two points separated the two teams before the technical time-out, 12:9 for Norway. Mol A. gave it his all, showing impressive jump serves and blocking ball after ball. The Vikings continued to extend their lead. 16:10 for Norway, when Italy claimed a timeout. At 18:10 Team Norway called for a challenge, ball in/out was the question and they were right, the ball ended up in the out and the point was safe for them. Now the game went one after the other, the first opportunity for a set point came at 20:11. Finally - not surprisingly after this course of the game - the Norwegians won the set 21:12.
Could the Italians still turn the tide? Nicolai showed everything in his repertoire: flawless service reception, surprising shots for the opponents, but it was not enough to close the points gap to the reigning European and Olympic champions. 11:7 and time for a break for the Italians, who were working up a good sweat trying to keep up with the exceptionally high level of play of the combative Norwegians. The Norwegian team had found their flow. Technical timeout at 13:8, the Vikings continued to leave Cottafava/Nicolai far behind. All signs pointed to a golden set at 17:11. Match point was initiated by an unsuccessful challenge by the Italians for ball in/out at 19:13. Strong blocks by Nicolai initially warded off two match point attempts. The third attempt was successful: The Norwegians won the match 21:15 and, as expected, a golden set was played.
In the Golden Set the battle for the points really began: From a score of 9:7 for Norway, the Vikings could practically smell victory and left the Italians no chance. They scored one point after the other with impressive attacks and took a clear lead. 11:7 at the timeout for Italy, the Norwegians took another three points in a row, it came to match point at 14:8. Mol A.'s block secured the victory of the final match for the unassailable Vikings at 15:8. Once again, Sørum/Mol A. showed that they undoubtedly deserved the title of beach volleyball superlative and rightly won the A1 CEV BeachVolley Nations Cup 2022.
Nations Score after the Gold Medal Match: Norway 2:1 Italy