They lost only to Turkey and Italy and won a phenomenal fifth place
The beautiful story got its true ending, the Croatian women’s junior national team at the World U19 Championship played in Osijek won a tremendous fifth place with a 3:0 (15, 9, 23) victory over Thailand! At this World Cup, our volleyball players only lost to Turkey, which eventually won the final, and unfortunately to Italy in five sets, the team that fought for bronze. And behind us were many superpowers, such as Brazil and Poland, which our girls bravely won in five sets.
Against Thailand, a team that plays specific volleyball, the Croatian women had one constant; in each of the three sets, they lost 0:2, but in each, they reached the 25th point first. In the first set, the easiest, in just 23 minutes, after they broke away at 16:11, went to 20:12, and the final at 25:15. The second set was similar; ours separated at 16:12 and 22:16 for 25:19 after 24 minutes, while the third, as expected, offered more excitement and lasted 28 minutes.
The Thai women, aware that this was their last chance to stay in the match, strengthened their defense even more, and our chosen kind unexpectedly started to make mistakes on the serve. Coach Saša Ivanišević mixed up the line-up a bit, changing the entire diagonal by bringing in Brkičić and Perić instead of Lijić and Bošnjak, and even earlier, he put Drobac at the middle blocker instead of Lulić. Although the Thai women led with 17:13 and 20:15, three tied blocks raised the energy in our ranks and brought us to 20:22. Rivals have got ‘water in their ears’; they make two mistakes per parallel, while on the other hand, Bošnjak and Štiglić are precise.
And finally, it couldn’t have been more beautiful; the last point for 25:23 was the work of “collective work”, a triple block in the middle of the net, a wall too high that the rivals could not jump over. Another great party of this gifted generation who, despite all their knowledge, first of all, came to fifth place in the world in their year with great unity. An age that has a great future ahead of it, but also an indication that Croatian volleyball is on the right path to return to the world elite.