Dream World Championship start for Iran as they beat USA


Iran's Mirzajanpour did well and his side is now 2-0 in a World Championship for their first time ever

Krakow, Poland, September 2, 2014 - Iran provided another major hit at FIVB Men’s World Championship in Poland as they claimed their second win in Krakow, this time in a thrilling five-setter over USA by 3-2 (25-23, 25-19, 19-25, 18-25, 17-15).

Key points

For the first time in their World Championship history, Iran has won their two first matches in the tournament.

With the victory, Iran is now only one match behind USA in the overall record (2-3).

The last time these teams met was at 2014 World League semifinals in Florence, Italy, with a 3-0 win for USA.

Iran is currently at disadvantage in three head-to-head records against NORCECA teams in the tournament - not only USA, but also Cuba (2-4) and Mexico (0-1).

USA’s Matthew Anderson and Taylor Sander emerged as the game’s most prolific scorers, with 26 and 25 points respectively, but it wasn’t enough for a complete American comeback. Meanwhile, Iran was led by Amir Ghafour (21 points), a key player in the final set. Teammate Mojtaba Mirzajanpour chipped in with 13 tallies.

The first set turned out to be a close contest all along. Sander headed USA towards 8-6 and 10-7 leads, but Iran quickly reacted and reached a 15-point tie. It was Sander again who ignited the American hopes at 17-15, but middle-blockers Adel Gholami and Seyed Mousavi had other plans. Star player Mousavi, precisely, nailed two points in a row to settle a definitive 25-23 for the Iranians.

Iran improved greatly on the service department and provided some massive damage to USA afterwards. Gholami, Ghafour and Farhad Ghaemi combined five aces and the score rapidly jumped to 15-12. With that advantage, Iran’s attacking forces completed the task and the Asian side easily remained in control. The serve was also a problem for the USA as a wide deliver finished the set by 25-19.

For the third set, John Speraw used the same formula than against Belgium: Anderson as wing spiker instead of opposite, only this time with Carson Clark filling that spot. That brought the Americans back to life, as both players created a lead that grew unstoppably to 21-14, with 7 points apiece in the set. Sander joined for a 25-19 closure, despite some Iranian resistance in the end.

Even though Iran tried to leave it all behind, USA stayed focused and kept rolling. Max Holt played a key role in the first moments of the set, Sander and Anderson teamed up next and David Smith added a block at 15-13. With that lead, the Americans relied on Sander (23-17), Iran contributed to their rivals’ cause with an error and Sander again smashed the 25-18.

The tie-break was an epic battle, in which Iran seized the first lead (3-1) and held it until a Ghafour block that made them exchange courts by 8-5. However, Holt sparked the American hopes with two killing blocks (13-13) and gave way to a spectacular ending. Iran advanced to 16-15 and a long spike from USA, even with a challenge call, wrapped up the game by 17-15.


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