Ardabil, Iran, August 11, 2017 – Iran, the only Asian team competing in the FIVB World League Group 1 this season, overpowered Korea in straight sets 25-10, 27-25, 25-18 to taste their first victory at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Asian Qualifier Pool A at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Stadium on Friday.
Korea already suffered their first loss at the hands of Qatar, while hosts Iran, fielding a strong U23 squad to finish a below-par fifth place at the recent SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship in Surabaya, Indonesia, had a rest day on Friday.
Korea were paralyzed by the tough blocking system of Iran led by Farhad Ghaemi to go down fighting 10-25 in the first set, much to the delight of around 6,000 home fans including 4,000 men. Conceding one set, the Koreans regained their composure and played better in the second set, but the host side proved a cut above the strong visitors to take the hard-fought set 27-25.
It was the similar script in the third set as Korea remained in aggression, gained in confidence and played more consistently. Still, Iran also marched on onslaughts to win the set 25-18 and match.
The tournament continues through Monday, with only top two teams after the single round-robin competition securing their places to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, which will be jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria.
Hosts Italy and Bulgaria and defending champions Poland have automatically qualified for the next year’s World Championship. France, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Russia, Serbia, Finland, and Belgium from Europe plus Japan and Australia from Asia have also booked their tickets through continental qualifiers.
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