Ardabil, Iran, May 8, 2017 – Reigning champions Iran thrashed Thailand in thrilling three sets 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 to power their way to the final showdown at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium and book a berth for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men’s 23 World Championship in Egypt.
Powerhouses Iran, yet losing a match to their respective rivals en route to the Monday’s semi-finals, and in-form Thailand entered the competition court with sweet dreams of winning a spot in the World Championship between August 18 and 26.
Thailand kicked off to a flying start to match the indomitable Iranians tactically and technically in the first set. However, the Thai players could not maintain their momentum after the second half of the set, allowing the Iranians several attacking opportunities. Iran took the hard-fought first set 25-22.
Iran took the lead in the second set, while Thailand did their best to catch up with the formidable rivals. Nevertheless, the Iranians held the visitors off, coming up with powerful attacks and solid blocks to win the second set 25-19.
Backed by a huge crowd of over 8,000 fans packing the venue, Iran dominated the third set 25-20 and match to advance to the final showdown and qualify for the World Championship.
Iran’s captain Rahman Taghizadeh appreciated the support of Iranian fans and said: “I am happy that we won the match. We have three more months up to the world meet in Egypt. We have already won a berth to compete in the world meet and now we have to do our best to retain our title before home fans.”
Iran’s head coach Juan Cichello said: “It is our great pleasure to stay among the top 12 teams of the world.” In the Iran’s final showdown against Japan, Cichello said: “Japan are a very good team and I think to beat them is not easy. We will do our best to beat them.”
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