Volleyball News

Ardabil, Iran, May 8, 2017 – Iran moved a step closer to retaining their title at the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship when the hosts and title-holders brushed off Thailand in straight sets in a semi-final clash at the Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium on Monday.

With the sensational 25-22 25-19 25-20 victory over the determined Thais, Iran advanced to the final showdown of the top-flight tournament, where they will go up against Japan, which pulled off a scintillating 25-21 25-19 25-18 win over old foes Chinese Taipei in the other semi-final encounter. Both Iran and Japan became the only two teams still unbeaten en route to the Tuesday’s final. More importantly, Iran and Japan, as the top two teams from the on-going Asian meet, have already qualified for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt between August 18 and 26.

China survived sturdy challenge from Malaysia for hard-fought 3-1 win

Towering China came from behind to beat Malaysia in dramatic four sets 17-25, 25-22, 25-12, 29-27 in the 5th-8th classification round on Monday.

Malaysia performed superbly to win the first set 25-17, but China found their touch to take the remaining three sets. With the win, China will now battle for the fifth place, while Malaysia were relegated to the 7th-8th place playoff on Tuesday, the final day of the tournament.

China’s head coach Zhang Qiyong, commented after the match: “Malaysia started better than us, but we regained confidence in the second set to come up with improved tactics and form. We enjoy playing in this atmosphere with a big crowd of spectators. We will do our best in the Tuesday’s match.”

Pakistan set up rematch with China in 5th-6th place playoff
Pakistan were forced to play exhausting five sets before beating Kazakhstan 25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-14 to next set up a rematch with China for the fifth position.

Pakistan, which went down 1-3 to China in their playoff match at the round of the last eight teams on May 4, will next go up against China in the 5th-6th place playoff on Tuesday.

“My players were too tired. I tried to push them to continue the fight. Kazakhstan also proved that they were not underdogs to beat easily. I think they were a close rival going up point by point against us,” Pakistan’s head coach Mahmood Azhar, said.

Pakistan fought for two hours with powerful Muhammad Waseem at the helm with his exceptional attacks, while Gurin Kirill led Kazakhstan with 16 points.

Japan sent Chinese Taipei packing in straight sets to qualify for World Championship
With 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-18) demolition of old foes Chinese Taipei, Japan advanced to the final showdown of the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Championship at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Indoor Stadium and qualified for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Egypt in August.

Japan had already beaten Chinese Taipei in straight sets in their playoff match at the round of the last eight teams on May 5.

In their semi-final match against Chinese Taipei on Monday, Japanese Yuki Suzuki, who always came up with the best-scorer of the team, sustained an injury from the very first set and Yuki Higuchi was sent in to replace him. Higuchi contributed to the team with 12 points.

Japan’s head coach Fumitoshi Tokunaga expressed his satisfaction over his team’s winning a berth for the World Championship in Egypt and said: “We are really excited with playing in the final against Iran before their passionate crowd. We are preparing these players for 2020 Olympic Games, so this is a good opportunity to play in such a huge crowd.”

Iran upset Thailand to qualify for World Championship

Reigning champions Iran thrashed Thailand in straight sets 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 to set up a final showdown with Japan and earn a berth for the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Egypt.

Iran’s captain Rahman Taghizadeh appreciated the great support of the Iranian fans and said: “I am happy that we won. We have three more months in our preparation for the world meet in Cairo, but what we have to do now is to prove our capability in the showdown to defend our title before our home fans.”

Iran’s head coach Juan Cichello said: “It is our great honour to stay among the top 12 teams of the world.” Against Japan in the showdown, Cichello said: “Japan are a very good team with quick play and excellent teamwork. We will do our best to beat them.”

On Tuesday, the final day of the top-flight tournament, two unbeaten teams Japan and Iran set up a final showdown. Both teams became the top two of the championship to qualify for the World Championship in Egypt in August, while Chinese Taipei and Thailand will battle it out for the third place.

Earlier, China and Pakistan will compete in the 5th-6th place playoff, while Malaysia and Kazakhstan will fight for the seventh position.

Monday’s results
5th-8th Playoffs
China b Malaysia 3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-12, 29-27)
Pakistan b Kazakhstan 3-2 (25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-14)

Japan b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-18)
Iran b Thailand 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-20)

Match schedule
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
7th-8th: Malaysia v Kazakhstan
5th-6th: China v Pakistan
Bronze medal match: Thailand v Chinese Taipei
Championship match: Iran v Japan


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