Russia's Dmitry Volkov celebrates a point during the Volleyball Nations League Finals gold medal match at the Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago, USA.
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 17, 2019 - Just as they had done a year earlier in the inaugural edition against France in Lille, Russia again denied the hosts in the final of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League - this time outplaying USA in Chicago in four sets for back-to-back gold in July.
The two finalists found themselves in the same three-team pool of the Finals in the Windy City, but both beat last year's runners-up France to secure their tickets to the semifinals, leaving France to take an early flight home. USA did beat Russia in straight sets in the match for first place - but both were already qualified and this proved of little consequence.
In the other Finals pool, Poland and Brazil both beat Iran for their own semifinal tickets.
Led by Matt Anderson, USA edged Brazil (who had previously dominated pool play in the Preliminary Round of the VNL) in five dramatic sets.
And Russia followed through, inspired by Victor Poletaev to knock out Poland in four.
Poland went on to beat Brazil in straight sets for bronze, in what was a rematch of the 2018 FIVB World Championship final.
The grand final was one for the record books, as Russia made sure no other side could win a VNL trophy, with Dmitry Volkov and Egor Kliuka leading the Europeans to a four-set win over USA - despite the best efforts of Anderson, who was named MVP of the tournament as well as opposite of the VNL Dream Team.
Quick links - Volleyball: