The Spodek Hall in Katowice is the venue of the semi-final showdown between Poland and Germany in the FIVB World Championship this evening.
The Poles reached the medal round of this competition after topping Pool H of the second round. The hosts actually finished tied with Brazil with four points but had a superior record having beaten the three-time defending world champions earlier.
All eyes will be on Mariusz Wlazly after he delivered 28 points in their five-set victory over Russia in their final Pool H fixture.
Team captain Michal Winiarski, Michal Kubiak, Mateusz Mika and Karol Klos are the other scoring options for head coach Stephane Antiga.
“We were very excited all day long, now we feel great happiness. We felt a big pressure because there were high expectations not only from the fans, but also from ourselves,” Winiarski told fivb.org.
“Our dream came true, we are going to Katowice. Now we’re dreaming of playing in the finals.”
Poland won its only world title in 1974 and finished runner-up to Brazil in 2006.
Germany, meanwhile, finished second to France in Pool G to progress to the semifinal of this tournament for the first time as a unified nation. East Germany won the world championship in 1970.
György Grozer is the focal point of the Germans’ attack and the Hungarian-born spiker will get support from Denys Kaliberda, Marcus Böhme and Jochen Schöps.
With a population of just over 7000 and no airport, Formentera is usually quieter than its neighbor Ibiza. However, in the peak season of July-August, it draws huge numbers of tourists. The overwhelming majority are Italian and the Italian language is heard more often than any other. Some are independent travellers, but many come on package holidays. In peak season, advance booking for hotels is absolutely essential. The hotels on the island are mostly small and independently owned. The majority are in the one- and two-star categories. There are also many small apartment developments. There are no high rise buildings on Formentera. Camping is forbidden on the island.
The island is flat and sandy with magnificent, unspoilt beaches. There are a few places where the land rises to present spectacular cliffs to the sea. It is perfect for cycling, walking, snorkelling and sailing. However, it has very few cultural or historical attractions such as museums, castles, churches or art galleries. Its cultural attractions include some megalithic sites, a roman road, some watch-towers (18th century), the 18th century chapel of Sant Francesc Xavier and a small Ethnological museum.
Some of the islanders make their living from small-scale traditional fishing. In parts of the island, the soil is good enough to support vines and fruit trees. Several parts of the island are covered in Mediterranean pine trees. Salt marshes (now abandoned) are defining features of parts of the island. However, tourism is the biggest sector of the local economy.
Outside the peak season when the tourists are high spenders, Formentera has an atmosphere of simplicity and back-to-nature that is the heritage of its past hippie phase. More and more, parts of the island are actively managed as a national park with, for example, board-walks through the sand dunes to enable them to regenerate their vegetation. In addition, areas of the surrounding seas are designated as zones of particular scientific interest in which certain plant and fish species are protected.