Press materials / FIVB / World of Volleyball / Vital Henin
– In my opinion, the Polish women’s defeat against Thailand is bad news for us. I expect your team’s reaction to this loss – says Vital Heinen before the match between Poland and Germany in the qualifying round of the Women’s Olympic Games.
Friday’s match (5:30 pm) with the German national team, led by Heinen, will be of great importance to the Polish national team. The unexpected 2-3 defeat to Thailand put our volleyball players in a difficult situation before the matches against their strongest rivals – the Germans, Americans and Italians. If the Poles want to maintain a real chance of qualifying for the Olympics in Lodz, they simply must win the first of these matches.
The German team did not play particularly well at the tournament in Lodz – having five-set battles with lower-ranked teams South Korea and Slovenia – but after four rounds of matches, the team has four wins and is ahead of Poland in the overall table. .
However, Heinen believes that despite the stumble against Thailand, the Whites and Reds remain favorites in the match against his team. – Let’s be realistic, we played against Poland three times this season and lost three times, each time more clearly – the Belgian mentions in an interview with WP SportoweFakty. He talks about two matches in the Nations League 2023 (3:2 for our team in the group stage and 3:1 in the quarterfinals) and the 1/8 finals of the European Championship 2023 (3:0).
– I think people do not consider Poland the favorite because your team failed against Thailand. However, in my opinion, the defeat of Polish women is bad news for us. If you lose to Thailand, of course this is not evidence of your great strength, but I expect the Polish national team’s reaction to this loss. After your best match, you always play worse in the next match, and better after your worst match, explains the coach who, as coach of the Polish men’s national team, won the world championship in 2018.
The good news for Heinen’s current team is that, according to his coach, he has already achieved his championship goal in Lodz. – With many problems related to injuries (during the national team season, team captain Hanna Orthmann was forced out of the match, and Annegret Holzig was also injured – note from WP SportoweFakty), when we recruited players for the team in emergency mode, we dreamed of four wins – The German coach says.
He adds that his team did not enter the Lodz tournament with high hopes of qualifying, but since they had the opportunity, they should try to take advantage of it. – We started with four wins, so we will do our best to win for the fifth time.
Did the Polish women’s loss to Thailand allow Heinen to notice something that would help his team win on Friday? After this question, the Belgian thinks for a moment and finally says: – Playing five sets might help. The longer a match lasts, the more unpredictable it becomes due to player fatigue.
He adds here that this year’s national team season is difficult for all teams because of its intensity – three big events in a short period of time (Nations League, continental championships, Olympic qualifiers).
-There is little time for training. The logical consequence of this situation is that your athletic level decreases during the season. He points out that this problem is evident in all teams. He says about the Olympic qualifying tournament itself that the system in which it is held is “brutal.” – Seven matches in nine days is a big burden, too much.
Watch the video: Nikola Grbic pointed out the great advantage that Polish volleyball players have. “It’s a rare feature.”
When we ask what Heinen expects on Friday in the match against Poland, he answers succinctly and with a smile: – A full hall.
– I’m already used to the matches where my team plays against the Polish national team, as there have been many of them recently. However, it will undoubtedly be a pleasure to perform in front of a Polish audience. He stresses that the moment of singing the song “Mazurka Dąbrowski” in Polish halls before national team matches is always a special moment.
He also announced that he will sing the Polish anthem on Friday with the fans. – I have always done this since the 2018 World Cup. As a member of the team that won the gold medal at that time, I think a small part of me belongs to Poland. This is why I sing,” he explained.
The coach, known for his very active and spontaneous behavior during matches, responds with a hearty laugh and says: – Do you think I plan these things? As always, I will do my best for my team to win. If doing theater can help with that, I’ll do theater.
The match between Poland and Germany in the Olympic volleyball qualifiers begins on Friday at 5:30 pm. The next matches will be against the Americans (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.) and the Italians (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.).
The top two teams in the tournament will qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris.
Volleyball players return to compete for the Olympics. Strong clash in Lodz
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