Iran Makes History, Wins Boys’ U19 Worlds Gold. USA Finishes in 15th.

  0 Liam Smith | August 27th, 2017 | African Volleyball, Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, International Coaching Changes, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Men's National Team


Volleyball is doing well in Iran. Its senior squad has already been turning heads with its competitive performances against volleyball’s toughest national teams. Now, they boast a youth world title as proof of its long term goals to one day dominate the sport. A youth world title that was captured without a single loss.  Below, you’ll find the video for today’s historic performance, as well as updated  brackets and FIVB recaps from the last day of the tournament, including information on Team USA’s 15th place finishing.

Porya Yali’s sure-fire performance helped Iran to beat Russia a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20) in the gold medal match. Yali scored 29 points to lead all scorers, and was aided in his efforts by Morteza Sharifi‘s 19 points. Maksim Sapozhkov, who came off the bench in the second set, top scored for Russia with 16 points.

Iran got off to an aggressive start with 17 attacks to take the first set at 25-20. The Russian block caused some problems for Iran but Sharifi and Yali still sneaked in a win for Iran at 25-23. Artem Melnikov’s presence at net was key for Russia’s 25-21 comeback win in the third set. In the hotly contested fourth set, Iran scored on two crucial blocks that gave them a 22-20 lead until Yali sealed championship victory at 25-20 with a towering spike.

Here are the post match reactions:

Iran captain Amirhossein Esfandiar: It’s a very good feeling to have my flag in first position. I am very happy because our staff tried really hard to develop our team. I am a player but I know about the mentality of our coaches and they really did a great job. I want to thank the FIVB for recognising me as the MVP. We have many good talents in this team, hopefully we can make the senior team in the future.

Iran coach Reza Farjad: My team played better than Russia. We saw it over eight matches and there is no question about it. We do not have any losses. We prepared for 11 months for this championship. In the Asian Championship, we only finished fourth behind Japan, Korea and China. This was a good motivation for us in the World Championship because we needed to go higher than any other Asian team. Two years ago, we got the bronze medal in the World Championship with a 3-1 win. Now this has happened and tonight I am very happy see the Iran flag being raised.

Bronze Medal Match

Japan x Korea

Kento Miyaura led Japan to capture the bronze medal, following their 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-18) win over Asian rivals Korea. Miyaura top scored with 16 points, which he built from 13 attacks, one block and two service aces. Miyaura took care of the Japanese offence, while his team-mate Mahiro Saeki led the team in blocks with four blocks. Im Donghyeok and Lim Sungjin scored 15 points each for the losing side.

The two Asian squads are evenly matched in terms of strength in offence and defense, which was evident in their first and second set encounters. After a series of intense rallies, Japan sparked great runs towards the end of each set to secure set victories. Japan’s constant patience on each rally helped them set-up a better counter-attack game, which rewarded them with the straight-set victory.

Here are the post match reactions:

Japan coach Hiroshi Honda: I am very happy and satisfied with the performance of all our players. This is a very good result for us. This is the World Championship and the bronze medal means a lot.

Every day our team got better. We could have been in the final but we are still happy to be in the top three.

Japan captain Kento Miyaura: I am very happy with this bronze medal. We did it as a team. We played with cohesion and motivation and everyone contributed to us reaching a high level in this competition.

Korea coach Park Wongil: We had a lot of difficulties with our reception today. We prepared ourselves for it but we didn’t perform well in the match, and that’s why we lost today. We are satisfied with fourth place but we were expecting a little bit higher because we were looking to win every game. Overall it was a good result.

Korea captain Choi Ikje: We thought we could finish higher because we won a lot of our previous matches. We were expecting a little bit more so we are a little bit disappointed.

Championship Bracket

Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
  Japan  3
  Puerto Rico  0
  Japan  3
  Czech Republic  0
  Argentina  1
  Czech Republic  3
  Japan  0
  Russia  3
  France  3
  United States  0
  France  2
  Russia  3
  Russia  3
  China  1
  Russia  1
  Iran  3
  Iran  3
  Turkey  0
  Iran  3
  Brazil  0
  Brazil  3
  Bahrain  0
  Iran  3
  South Korea  0 3rd place match
  Italy  0
  South Korea  3
  South Korea  3   Japan  3
  Egypt  1   South Korea  0
  Egypt  3
  Cuba  2


5th – 16th Play-offs

France x Egypt

Celestin Cardin tallied 17 points to help France win 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 26-24) against Egypt in the battle for fifth place. Cardin was solid on offence with 16 attacks and an ace, then Remi Bassereau contributed 10 markers in the first two sets for France. Egypt’s Abdelrahman Eissa also finished with 10 points, but his team’s 26 total errors factored in their loss.

France gained a 2-0 set advantage as Cardin and Bassereau carried the scoring load to steady their offence, while Egypt could not stabilize their attack and defense. Egypt gave France a better fight in the third set, but even their better attacks could not prevent the latter from taking the set at 26-24.

Here are the post match reactions:

France coach Belmadi Slimane: I am satisfied with fifth place finish. It is a very good result for our team, but we must always keep in mind that this is not enough. It was a good competition because we never lost by a big difference. It was always small and we won with a big difference. We never gave away a match. We always fought hard, so it was a good tournament for us. It is difficult to tell if we could have done better than top five. All the teams in the top eight are very good. We can hope for a good future for this generation if we work a lot and if we work hard. We lost to Russia by two points and we lost against Japan by two points. With a little bit of luck, we could be in the final or playing for a bronze medal. We must work hard and we must make the difference of those two points.

France captain Lucas Soldner: Our loss in the quarterfinal is still in our heads, but to finish with a victory and be in the top five in a world competition is very good. We are very satisfied. We now go back to France and continue to play the whole year together. In the future, it is the goal of every single player on this team to play on the men’s national team. We would all like to be in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Egypt coach Nehad Shehata: I am very happy because we got more than our target in this competition. I succeeded in building a good, strong team with many potential players for the future. I will always remember this tournament. It was wonderful. Thank you to those who organised this competition, and to those who helped us come here and achieve our goals.

Egypt captain George Bakhit: It was a very good match. France were a very hard team to play against. I thank my team-mates for this tournament. We finished in sixth place.

Czech Republic x Brazil

Marek Sotola scored 21 points to lead Czech Republic 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-9) over Brazil to finish in the 7th position. Sotola had 19 attacks, a block and an ace; then Jan Svoboda and Lukas Vasina scored 15 points apiece for the Czech Republic. Josef Polak led the Czech block party as he made 10 of his team’s 19 blocks in the match. Victor Cardoso led all scorers with 25 points, and João Franck had 17 on a losing effort.

The first two sets saw the Czech Republic and Brazil splitting victories. By the third set, Czech Republic’s net defense improved and contained their rivals’ offence to gain a 2-1 set lead. Brazil bounced back in the fourth set, but they could not sustain their play in the final set as Czech Republic served hard and blocked well to clinch the match at 15-9

Here are the post match reactions:

Czech Republic coach Jiri Zach: It was very motivate the guys. We started to play after the second set and we forgot how we performed there. So that’s when our guys started to play well without pressure in their minds. Our reserves played very well and they motivated the other members in the team.

Czech Republic captain Ondrej Piskacek: It’s hard to keep the motivation going for a very long tournament like this. I am still proud of my team because we finished in seventh place. We started playing well when we established our defence. We love playing the fifth set. In the European Championship we played in four tie-break matches and won all of them.

Brazil coach Leonardo Carvalho: We are very upset that we had three losses in a row. We started well in the tournament, but after losing to Iran, we couldn’t find our rhythm to play well. We lost to the European champions in five sets. When we play well, we win the set; but when we make mistakes in our reception especially in attack, then we always lose the set. The most important lesson for these young boys is to always give each match 100 per cent. It doesn’t matter if they play in the final or in a match to decide the ranking. In sport, you always have to give your best.

Brazil captain João Franck: We had opportunities to win in this match. In the fifth set, we did not even try to take this opportunity. This is my first World Championship and this is the most important competition in my life. I learned that you have to fight hard for each point, each set and each match.

Italy x China

Italy captured 9th place in the tournament with a straight-sets win against China (25-19, 25-16, 25-20). Italy’s Lorenzo Cortesia led all scorers on the floor with 15 points scored off eight attacks, six blocks and a service ace. Davide Gardini and captain Daniele Lavia posted double-digits scores, 12 points and 11 points respectively.

Italy ran their offence steadily, setting their plays carefully. They also strategised with their service, to throw off their opponents’ reception. Meanwhile, China could not find their usual tempo as they struggled in passing the ball. When the Chinese hitters are able attempt for attacks, they are mostly challenge by Italy’s block formation. The Italian side connected with a total of 11 blocks, to add to their 38 attacks and eight aces in the straight-sets match.

Here are the post match reactions:

Italy assistant coach Bruno Morganti: The match went well in terms of the focus of the players,. They were alert on the court and played well in terms of attack and reception. But then, we have to keep working.

Italy captain Daniele Lavia: For sure, we are not entirely satisfied with the results. But we have to keep moving forward all the same. Technically speaking, I think we played well even against tough opponents.

China coach Haichuan Wang: The competition here in Bahrain was a good one, with a lot of strong teams. The young players were in a good condition to give their best. Iran’s number 20 player (Porya Yali) can be a superstar in the future. We thank the FIVB and the Organisers for holding this tournament which proved important for every competing team. This is a good way to raise the level of the sport in this age group.

China captain Cong Tian: The best memory I have from this tournament is the opportunity to make friends with other teams. We can help one another by learning from one another.

Turkey x Argentina

Turkey took a 3-1 victory against Argentina (27-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-18) to finish in 11th place. Captain Adis Lagumdzija led Turkey as the top scorer, posting a total of 20 points (17 spikes, one block, two service aces), while Batuhan Avci helped out with another 15 points. Argentina captain Federico Seia led his team, scoring 19 points in the match.

Turkey mostly revolved their offence on the powerful spikes of Lagmdzija, which challenged their opponents’ defensive stance. Argentina needed to strengthen their first line and second line of defense in order to address their predicament. They firmed up their block formation, and also persisted on floor defense so they could coordinate for their own offence. By the fourth set, Turkey utilized more of their powerful offence, and gave pressure from the service line. The European side completed their victory in four sets with 48 attacks, 12 blocks, and eight service aces.

Here are the post match reactions:

Turkey coach Umit Hizal: We really wanted to give our best, but we did not get the best results in the tournament. Maybe some of the players were tired without much concentration. Our players’s experience in this tournament is important because they have played in the world arena.

Turkey captain Adis Lagumdzija: In the last two games, I think we really played well, compared to how we started. If we were able to play early on like we did in the last two matches, we could have gotten better results. We need to work much harder as a team so in the next championship, we can show what we can really do. It’s a great honour for me and all of my team-mates to represent Turkey.

Argentina coach Luis Testa: We have finished the tournament but our work continues. The players will participate in the clubs and the National League in Argentina. Then we have other equally important tournaments. We just have to keep working.

Argentina captain Federico Seia: It was a very long and difficult tournament. We played against really strong opponents. I think we were not able to play one hundred per cent but we have gained really good experience

Bahrain x Puerto Rico

Hosts Bahrain bested Puerto Rico in a straight-sets match (25-20, 25-22, 25-23) to take 13th place. Husain Thamer and Mohamed Jasim were the host team’s top scorers, posting 16 points and 10 points respectively. Puerto Rico’s Pedro Molina led all scorers on the board with 18 points.

Puerto Rico showed its powerful offence, setting up their hitters Molina and captain Gabriel Garcia. The host team also had its reliable hitters, but they needed to put in extra effort against the opponents’ tall frontline. Bahrain tried to set every play carefully, by first working on good defense, and just being patient in setting up their attack. The Asian side later used their serves in throwing off the rhythm of their opponents, to seal victory in straight sets during the final day of competition.

Here are the post match reactions:

Bahrain coach Yusuf Khalifa: We are satisfied with the team’s final ranking. For now, we can rest for a little bit, but prepare shortly after to find other players who can help make the team become stronger. We have reached some targets in this competition, now we have to reach our other targets.

Bahrain player Mohamed Haroona: This is the first time we have played in the World Championship. We want to learn from this great experience of playing against very strong teams. We did so much work, and we have to keep working to improve.

Puerto Rico coach Juan Albarran: We always want to keep improving as a team. We have to a be better team so we can earn victories. We have gained so much experience and we want to play even more international matches.

Puerto Rico captain Gabriel Garcia: I am very honored to represent my country. All of my team-mates feel the same way. We never knew that we could play in the World Championship. The thing is, we have to keep practicing and keep being better each day.

USA x Cuba

USA staged a 3-0 win against Cuba (25-20, 25-19, 26-24) on Sunday for a 15th-place finish. Captain Joel Schneidmiller scored 22 points to power USA’s offence with 17 attacks, four blocks and a service ace. Cuba’s Lazaro Brunet led his team in scoring with a total of 17 points in the match.

USA showed good mastery of their offence, running their plays smoothly. What also mattered was the pressure in their service. They were aggressive from the service line, giving much difficulty to their opponents in passing the ball. Cuba established their advantage in the third set, but USA took charge with good reception and block formation to win the match in straight sets. USA converted with 36 attacks, the same as Cuba’s output, but excelled with nine blocks and seven service aces.

Here are the post match reactions:

USA coach Samuel Shweisky: This is the USA pipeline and this is all part of the process in trying to prepare for our senior national team. The youth national team is the first step these guys have to play international competitions. Such an eye-opening experience for us with 20 teams, and to train for several weeks, to travel across the world. And now, the work begins for us. Some of these guys have the chance to make it to our junior team and hopefully all the way to the senior team.

USA captain Joel Schneidmiller: This team is really closely knit together, which I really like. I played in a lot of different teams and there has never been a team like this. We stuck together even through the down-streak we had but we stayed together.

Cuba coach Jesus Lopez: Many of these athletes can move into the U21 group. They have to play a lot tournaments and they have train harder year after year. We learned a lot from this competition. The players, and even the coaching staff gained great experience from this.

Final Standing

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