News ID: 154441
Published: 0711 GMT July 04, 2016

Iran sees off Argentina in tiebreaker

Iran sees off Argentina in tiebreaker
Iran's Mojtaba Mirzajanpour celebrates during his team's 3-2 win over Argentina.

Iran beat Argentina 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 25-22, 16-14) in Tehran on Sunday.

Despite neither of the two teams having a chance to qualify for the Final Six in Krakow, the players treated the home crowd to a thrilling match, reported. 

Iran took an early lead 4-1 in the opening set, but its lead was down to just one point at the second technical timeout. It was able to hold on to the slender advantage as Mojtaba Mirzajanpour finished the set at 25-23.

The second set also started with Iran 4-1 up. However, the home fans went silent when Poglajen made the score even at 7-7. The set was close from then on until at 21-all, Argentina managed to score twice in a row. It quickly grabbed the set, 25-22.

Iran started the third set well, leading 8-4 at the first technical timeout. Excellent reception and quick attack by Iran allowed the host to maintain its lead at 16-12. A successful video challenge by Argentina made the gap closer at 17-15. Argentina's captain De Cecco came on and led Argentina to an impressive finish and a 25-21 win.

The fourth set began with the teams tied at 8-all. Iran won a beautiful rally to go 16-13 up. It was able to hold on to its lead and force the tiebreak, with 25-22.

The host also started the final set better with a 6-3 lead. Argentina managed a last-minute comeback to tie the score, but it wasn't enough as Iran snatched the final two points, and the tiebreak, 16-14.

Following the match, Argentina's captain Luciano De Cecco said, "Congratulations to Iran. We had the opportunity to win, but playing at this stadium is so special. We no need to continue to be prepared for the Olympics."

Commenting on the game, Iran's captain Saeed Marouf, noted that, "I think both teams played at the same level. I do not want to talk about the game as everybody knows how important it was for both Argentina and Iran. It was the last match before the Olympic Games and was also important for the ranking. I want to talk about the inspiration that the people of Iran gave us during the World League since the beginning.

"They really helped us in a day when we really needed them. Although we did not get good results in the World League this year, they supported us and I really appreciate it. We had many injured players and had difficult situations with long travels. I believe we had good performance both in the Olympic Qualification games in Tokyo and in the World League."

Also Iran head coach Raul Lozano said, "Before I come to Iran I had heard about the Iranian fans and how they cheer their national players, but now I experienced it for 3 days and I am so happy.

"About the game today, I have to say it was a very difficult game for both teams with a lot of pressure. The game was at a high level of volleyball, but both teams were under pressure as they knew they are going to rival each other in the opening match of the Olympic Games. So they tried to get good results."

At the end of the preliminary round of the World League 2016, the Netherlands squeezed through to the Group 2 Finals, while in Group 1 teams positioned themselves to form the pools for the Finals.

Group 1

Serbia returned to its winning ways outlasting Italy in five sets while Brazil beat France in four sets and the United States shut out Russia in three to top the standings.

Therefore, Brazil, Poland, France, Italy, Serbia and the United States qualified for the Final Six.

At the bottom of the table Bulgaria survived five sets for their first victory of the season, leaving Australia winless.

Group 2

The Netherlands just squeezed through to the Final Four of the Group, next weekend in Matosinhos in dramatic fashion, despite losing to Korea in five sets in Seoul.

Finland tied with the Netherlands on wins after handing Canada its first defeat of the season in five sets at home in Tampere, but the Nordic country finished a point short of the Dutch.

The Netherlands join host Portugal, plus Canada and Turkey in the Final Four.

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