Manama, Bahrain, July 24, 2019 – Brazil, Russia, Italy and Iran moved into the semifinals of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship after securing crucial victories on Tuesday in Isa Sport City.
Brazil were first to confirm their Final Four appearance as Pool E leaders with a straight-sets victory (25-19, 25-13, 25-19) against Korea. Welinton Oppenkoski (16 points) and Marcus Vinicius Coelho (11 points), who were not Brazil coach Giovane Gavio’s usual starters, starred as top scorers in the win.
Russia finished second in Pool E after taking 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-17) against China. The Russians led on all fronts, with 37 attacks, 7 service winners and 6 blocks, but coach Andrey Nozdrin admitted to finding difficulty against China’s quick combinations.
Italy rose to the top of Pool F after a 3-0 defeat (25-21, 25-13, 25-19) of Argentina. Wednesday’s match extends the Italian run to six straight victories in the competition. The European side capitalised on solid blocking (10 stuff blocks) and strong service, charting a total of seven aces. Coach Monica Cresta seized the opportunity to utilise nearly her entire roster in preparation for the tougher phase to follow.
Iran finished in second place in Pool F by beating hosts Bahrain 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-18). Porya Yali (15 points), Morteza Sharifi (14 points) and Amir Hossein Toukteh (10 points) led the charge for Iran’s win and rightful spot in the Final Four.
Iran’s Yali (104 points) now joins Argentina’s Luciano Palonsky (125 points) and Maksim Sapozhkov (119 points) in the competition’s 100-point circle.
The teams head for a rest and recovery break on Thursday, before resuming with the semi-final matches on Friday. Medal matches immediately follow on Saturday at Bahrain’s capital city.