Art And Culture

Iran Volleyball Trounces US in Dramatic Comeback

According to the ranking criteria of the games, which classifies the teams in descending order by the number of matches won, Iran is atop the ranking table, ahead of the US and Brazil
Iran players rejoice after winning over the US.
Iran players rejoice after winning over the US.

Iran volleyball national men’s team clinched a superior victory Wednesday against the US in their second game of FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup in Nagoya, Japan.

Both teams won their first matches in the tournament and looked for a second victory as they faced each other. The Americans started the game better and won the first two sets 25-20 and 25-17. However, in a dramatic comeback, Iran outperformed the strong opponent, winning the next three sets 27-25, 25-21 and 15-12, to repeat the result of the 2013 match when they beat the US 3-2 in the nations’ only previous meeting at the Grand Champions Cup.

According to the tournament website, Iran player Milad Ebadipour boosted the confidence of the national squad to help them turn the table and win a game when they were close to losing.

Ebadipour, who was contained by the US in the first two sets, stepped up on offence and finished with 18 points. Amir Ghafour and Mohammad Javad Manavinezhad, two players instrumental in the comeback, scored 15 and 11 points, respectively.

  Seizing Opportunities

Iran’s Montenegrin coach Igor Kolakovic, who after winning over Italy in the first match, said they made the first surprise and “have opportunities to make more surprises in the coming days, said the match against the US “was such a difficult game”.

“There were two different parts to the game. I have to say the US played unbelievably well on reception, side-out and service in the first two sets. In the short breaks I talked to my players and told them if they played like this, there wasn’t much we could do, so we had to wait for opportunities. I told them they would give us opportunities for sure because they can’t play at the high level all the time. And we did that,” the coach said.

  Full Potential

Iran captain Saeid Marouf, who was not satisfied with the first match despite  victory against Italy and believed they could play better, called the game with the US “incredible”.

“In the first two sets we didn’t have anything (to show). They killed us with their serve and side-out and were amazing. After that, we played without fear and to our full potential. Our substitutes did well and all the players helped us in the victory,” Marouf noted.

  Atop Table

Iran has earned four points so far and is the only team among the six nations in the cup which have won both its first and second matches in the tournament. Brazil and the US also have four points based on one 3-0 victory and one 2-3 defeat. So according to the ranking criteria of the games, which classifies the teams in descending order by the number of matches won, Iran is atop the ranking table, ahead of the US and Brazil.

Iran last beat the US in a competitive match in June 2015, when they won 3-0 in the 2015 World League.

Victory over the Italian and American sides in two back-to-back matches was previously recorded for Iran in the first two matches in the 2014 World Championship.

The 2017 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup, the 7th edition of the tournament, is underway in Japan with six of the world’s top volleyball teams. Competitors are the number one team from the highest ranked continents at the Rio 2016 Olympics games including Iran, France, Brazil and the US plus host Japan and wildcard Italy.

The US won bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio while Iran was a distant fifth.

Grand Champions Cup is a quadrennial international men’s volleyball tournament organized by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (commonly known as FIVB). Iran did not qualify in the first four editions of the games. In the fifth edition in 2009, Iran finished 5th and in 2013 took 4th place.

On the third day of the games Iran will meet Brazil on Sept. 14.


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