Iran blocked 16 times to materialise their ticket to the next round
Krakow, Poland, September 6, 2014 - Once again strengthening from their blocks, Iran managed to defeat Belgium 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20) and secured their ticket for the second phase of FIVB Men’s World Championship in Poland.
• It was just the second Iran-Belgium match at FIVB World Championship.
• Belgium is trailing also against other Asians teams who are in Poland - China (1-2) and Korea (0-1).
• Iran achieved a third victory for the first time since 1970, when they grabbed a total of four wins.
• Belgium already suffered a worst losing streak than this current 1-3 record - a 0-4 in 1962 World Championship.
Iran got pumped up with a total of 16 killing blocks, with Seyed Mousavi adding five of them in a total of 12 points and setter Mir Saied Marouflakrani blocking four times. The scoring department was topped by Farhad Ghaemi and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour, with 13 points apiece, but Belgium’s Sam Deroo was the most prolific scorer overall, with 15 conquests.
Belgium surprised and rushed to 8-5, but Mirzajanpour started improving on the attack and created a 12-12 on the board. Afterwards, the match entered a point-by-point basis and it wasn’t until the very end that Iran seized control. The Red Dragons had hopes at 21-19, but a couple of blocks on Bram Van Den Dries put Iran in front by 24-23 and Shahram Mahmoudi, after a challenge call, achieved the 25-23.
With a confidence boost, Iran recovered their best features and dominated the next set. After a 4-1 start, Mousavi and Marouflakrani piled up block after block towards a 15-8 score. Belgium found in their defence a source of energy, but the gap was already too wide for them. Mousavi blocked a few more times to complete a total of seven in the second set, Iran moved on to 23-14 and Armin Tashakori hammered a loose ball for the 25-15.
The Europeans used the break to regroup and Gert Van Walle blocked for a slim 7-5 lead. Iran did their best to finish the match in that third set, but Deroo appeared when needed and captain Frank Depestele chipped in with an ace at 16-13. Iran kept trailing to 20-15 in a good moment of the Belgian blockers and, even after Mousavi reduced to 23-20, Pieter Verhees nailed the 25-21.
Both teams were leveled during the opening of the fourth set, until a rock-hard Tashakori block that Iran enjoyed for 11-8 numbers. Mirzajanpour transformed that score into a 16-13 letting his side cruise, not only towards the victory but also the second round ticket. The final track showed Iran ahead by four (20-16) and several blocks accelerated the end. Tashakori wrapped up the game by 25-20.