TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Three-time former world champions Italy moved another step closer to the Beijing Olympics when they breezed past Iran in the men's volleyball final qualifying round yesterday.
The Italians chalked up a 25-16, 25-20, 25-18 victory for their fifth straight win to remain unbeaten in the eight-team round robin competition.
"Even before the match, I knew we wouldn't have any chance, because Italy are one of the strongest teams in the world," Iran's Serbian coach Zoran Gajic said after the match.
"My players got a lot of experience and they've improved in each match. I'm really looking forward to seeing how much they improve in the remaining two matches," he added.
Japan and Argentina trail Italy with the same 4-1 win-loss record, followed by Australia, South Korea and Algeria with 2-3, Iran with 1-4 and winless Thailand.
Argentina beat Thailand 25-15, 25-20, 25-16, while Japan passed Asian champions Australia 25-22, 28-26, 29-27. South Korea were 25-9, 25-19, 25-17 winners over Algeria.
Italian coach Andrea Anastasi said the team has been on a roll since almost losing to Japan, a match in which they had to save 11 match points before finally winning.
"We've kept good concentration, but we had the wrong attitude for the match against Japan. We adjusted after that. That's why we've kept winning," Anastasi said. "We are moving closer and closer towards our goal. We still have a match against Argentina on the final day."
Now Iran's national volleyball team is to play against South Korea at 11.05 a.m. local time on Saturday.
The champion of the round-robin tournament as well as the best Asian team will qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
... Payvand News - 06/08/08 ... --