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Volleyball: Relentless Ghafour Guides Iran To A Key Win Over Serbia And Historic Climb To Third Round

Source: FIVB

Lodz, Poland, September 14, 2014 - Iran earned a crucial win to maintain their hopes in Poland as they prevailed over Serbia 3-1 (27-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18) and made it to the third round of the 2014 FIVB Men's World Championship in Poland.

Key points

  • Iran is already on their best performance at the tournament, as they never placed above 19th place in their four previous participations.
  • The head-to-head record now belongs to the Asian team, by a slim 3-2.
  • Their only previous duel at the competition was in 1970, when former Yugoslavia beat Iran 3-2. 
  • Serbia had reached semifinals in their four last runs at FIVB World Championship - including Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro campaigns, from 1998 to 2010.

Amir Ghafour was again a scoring machine as he uncorked 30 points for the winning side, passing all other scorers by a wide margin. Serbia had two players who placed near the Iranian killer - Aleksandar Atanasijevic and left-handed Uros Kovacevic, both with 18 tallies.

Despite the absence of Milos Nikic and Nikola Kovacevic, Serbia was able to battle. However, Ghafour was the lighthouse for Iran as he nailed 10 points and carried his side to the win, especially in the final track. Nemanja Petric scored a 22-20 for Serbia, but Ghafour became the key and Iran climbed back to 24-23. Mousavi made the effort worthy and sealed the 27-25.

Iran kept going to 10-8 in the second set, but Petric got at the helm for Serbia and Uros Kovacevic teamed up to draw numbers of 18-16 for the Europeans. Even though Iran stopped losing ground, Marko Podrascanin was a safe choice for Serbia as he spiked to 23-21 and Kovacevic blocked to establish the final gap. A failed Iranian serve settled the 25-22.

However, Serbia didn't quite come back to the game and Iran rapidly advanced to 7-2, creating a lead that Ghafour sustained with another batch of 10 points. The Iranian side moved on to 16-12 with their bomber in top shape and Serbia steadily lost their power. Armin Tashakori and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour completed the 25-22.

The fourth set breezed past quickly as Serbia couldn't regain their form and Iran blocked firmly to demolish every hope. The Asian side moved from 11-3 to 16-9, even with Serbia chaining a couple of points. The final track showed Iran ahead by a comfortable 20-13 and Ghafour took care of the rest. Serbia gave Iran a bunch of match balls with a long serve and Ghafour smashed the 25-18.

Third round complete after key drawing of lots

Lodz, Poland, September 15, 2014 - Following the completion of the exciting FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014 second round on Sunday - culminating with an epic 3-2 win by Poland over France, which confirmed France and Poland in first and second place in Pool E respectively - the emotions remained high in Lodz as the drawing of lots for the third round was held in Atlas Arena in an awesome atmosphere.The draw took place in the press conference room, right after the final statements of coaches Laurent Tillie and Stephane Antiga about the game. Both of them remained for the draw, along with the team managers of Iran, France and Poland - all of the Pool E teams directly involved in the third round.The procedure was conducted by Mr. Aleksandar Boricic, FIVB Control Committee President for the competition, together with LOC President Mr. Wojciech Czayka and FIVB Control Committee Venue Operations Director Mr. Shanrit Wongprasert.Mr Boricic explained the formula to the teams, journalists and photographers, who not only filled the chairs but were also lined up outside of the room, while POLSAT broadcast the whole ceremony live.After underlining that Poland will stay in Lodz for the third round regardless of the result of the draw, the key moment arrived. France and Brazil, as pool leaders, were placed as the first teams of Pools G and H respectively. The other four teams - hosts Poland, Russia, Iran and Germany were put together in the same bowl.Mr. Wongprasert drew Brazil to establish that the following team was going to take on the world's No. 1 team in the third round. And Poland team manager Hubert Tomaszewski drew Poland, a twist that not only created an awesome clash but also decided Pool H to be held in Lodz.Meanwhile Iran team manager Amir Khoshkhabar drew Germany as the second team in Pool G before France coach Tillie, who was the one in charge of the final choice for Pool H, pulled out Russia to complete a mouth-watering pool, while France were immediately placed with Iran and Germany - something that ignited the relief of captain Benjamin Toniutti, who was among those in attendance.

Third Round Pools

Pool G in Katowice: France, Germany, Iran
Pool H in Lodz: Brazil, Poland, Russia

Iran will play against Germany on September 17 and against France on September 18.

Related website: FIVB Men's World Championship in Poland

... Payvand News - 09/15/14 ... --

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