Belgium beat Italy 3-2 in a five-set thriller as they finally claimed their first win of Baku 2015, while Poland came from behind to beat Pool A leaders Serbia at Crystal Hall 1 on Thursday.
Belgium and Italy traded points in a closely contested first set, before the Belgians eventually claimed a 26-24 win, but Italy excelled in the second and ran out 25-16 winners. Belgium responded strongly to claim the third set 25-19.
Italy hit back once more to take the fourth set 25-12, but the Red Dragons of Belgium held their nerve to take the deciding fifth set by a score of 15-13.
“It was a very tough game with lots of ups and downs, so we had to work hard for the win,” said Belgium's Jolan Cox, who scored 23 points.
“Our next game against Slovakia (on Saturday 20 June) is now very important. We must win that if we are to stay in the competition.
“We are a young team, but it has been an amazing experience so far and we don’t want to leave early.”
The evening’s Pool A game was another gripping five-set affair, with Poland coming back from 2-0 down to defeat Serbia 3-2.
Cheered on by a small but noisy support, Serbia won the first set easily 25-13, before claiming the second 25-21. They took their foot off the gas too early, though, and Poland hit back to win the third set 25-15 and then edged a closely fought fourth set 25-23.
Poland's momentum swept them through the deciding set with relative ease, as they closed out the match 15-9 to move top of the pool.
Serbia will next play Finland, while Poland face Azerbaijan on Saturday 20 June.