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National Volleyball Team Clinches Third Victory

Iran’s toughest task in the group stage will be on Monday when it meets title holder Poland, which has kept an unbeaten run as well and share the table-top spot with Iran
 Iran secured a place in Round 2. Iran secured a place in Round 2.

In its third consecutive victory in FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, Iran beat Cuba 3-1 on Saturday to keep an unbeaten run in the tournament.

Iran stayed perfect in Pool D after outlasting Cuba for a 3-1 (17-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-19) win for the first time in the world championship that the Asian team starts with three wins from the first three matches.

Iran secured a place in Round 2 while Cuba, still without a point, is getting closer to the elimination, the official website of the games reported.

Searching for an inspiration, Cuba head coach Nicolas Vives Coffigny made two changes in the line-up as Livan Osoria and Osniel Melgarejo got their first starts of the championship. The success was immediate. Cuba established two points lead right from the start.

Ace by Miguel Gutierrez and a 5-0 streak got the score to 19-12. Yohan Leon came off the bench with an ace and Gutierrez put the set to bed with an excellent spike -- 25-17 for Cuba which got the incredible 81% kill rate in attack.

Iran finally made a run in the second set. Tied at 7-7 the Asian Games champion won six of the next eight points.

Searching for a quick turnaround, the Cubans played with even more risks on serve and failed to even put the ball in play. Trailing by eight points head coach Coffigny raised the white flag substituting Gutierrez. The set finished 25-18 for Iran.

It was point for point in the third set until a key video challenge. Cubans thought they had tied at 19-19. However Iran coach Igor Kolakovic challenged for a net touch. And he was correct. Iran never looked back and the team’s first ace of the match, setter Saeid Marouf, closed the set at 25-22.

The young Cubans fought brave in the fourth as well but after a second technical break Iran went on a 5-1 run to secure the win.

 Cuba Inexperienced But Very Strong

Igor Kolakovic expressed his fear of Cuba in the post-match press conference.

“We were afraid before the game because we knew that Cuba can play on a really high level, said Kolakovic. “They are young and inexperienced, but physically they are very strong and that was their key in the first set I think.”

“Unfortunately we lost it but after that we calmed down, started to play more stably and invest more energy than in the first set. I think we deserved this victory and it was very important because now we have 9 points and it is the best possible result after the three games played,” he added.

Iran’s toughest task in the group stage will be on Monday when it meets title holder Poland, which has kept an unbeaten run as well and share the table-top spot with Iran.

Ahead of the game, Kolakovic has said that he and his team are specifically working on the weak spots of their rival to beat them and keep the top spot.

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