A straight-sets defeat against Russia meant that Iran’s wait for a place at the volleyball competitions of the 2020 Summer Olympics will extend as the Asian powerhouse will now have to fight for the Tokyo ticket in the continental contests.
On Sunday, both sides entered the Pool E decider in Saint Petersburg on the back of successive victories over Mexico and Cuba, and it was the host team – the newly-crowned Volleyball Nations League champion – which came out on top (25-19, 25-23, 25-23) for the third consecutive win in the qualifiers.
Victor Poletaev and Egor Kliuka scored in double figures for the Russians, chipping in 19 and 11 points, respectively, while in the Iranian outfit, Amir Ghafour and Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi topped the scoring with 17 and 12 points.
Brazil, USA, Poland, Argentina and Italy won the other qualification groups and – along with Russia – will join Japan in next year’s Games.
Iran will seek a second qualification for the Olympics’ volleyball games after a 3-0 quarterfinal defeat against Italy in Rio 2016.