A below-par performance on Wednesday saw Iran suffer a second consecutive defeat at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup in Japan against Egypt – a first defeat against the African side in nine years.
The Asian powerhouse, having been beaten by Russia in straight sets on the opening day of the competition, took the first set 25-22 before falling to 26-24, 25-18 and 26-24 defeats.
Ahmed Shafik and Ahmed Abdelhay chipped in 19 and 14 points for Egypt respectively, while Pouria Yali and Milad Ebadipour had 20 and 17 points to their name in the Iranian outfit.
Igor Kolakovic’s men – who won a third Asian title in Tehran in mid-September after being involved in the Volleyball Nations League in July – have been looking fatigued and out of sorts in a third major tournament in two months.
That’s what Iran’s head coach mentioned in the post-match press conference in Nagano.
“It will be so difficult for us to finish this tournament in a normal situation. Most of us are not ready for this tournament mentally and physically for a lot of reasons,” said Kolakovic.
“Today we didn’t play good in important moments, especially in the second set. In the third set also, we came close at 17-16 and after that in the last set again, in important moments, we didn’t play as we usually play,” the Montenegrin added.
Iran will next play Canada – which was beaten by Russia in five sets on Wednesday – on Friday.
Elsewhere in the competition, Poland beat the host 3-1 (25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 25-17) with USA and Argentina also coming out victorious in four sets against Italy and Tunisia respectively.
Brazil overcame Australia in straight sets.
Brazil, Poland, Egypt, Argentina and Russia – all on two wins – sit first to fifth in the 12-team table.