Iran, despite a brave performance by the young players, suffered third defeat at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup, falling to a 3-1 loss to title favorite Brazil.
On Sunday, Igor Kolakovic’s side started the game with a rejuvenated lineup – comprising Javad Karimi, Pouria Yali, Amirhossein Esfandiar, Mas’oud Gholami and Mohammad-Reza Hazratpour – and took the first set 27-25 before the two-time champion bounced back to win the next three sets 25-21, 27-25 and 25-22.
Yali topped the scoring for Iran with 25 points, followed by Esfandiar who had 13 to his name.
Alan Souza and Yoandy Leal Hidalgo scored 16pts apiece in the Brazilian outfit.
“We always enjoy volleyball when we play against Brazil because we have an opportunity to play against one of the best – well the best – in the world. And for that reason we have really good motivation all the time, (whether) we play with younger players or experienced players,” Kolakovic said in the post-match press conference in Nagano, Japan.
“Tonight it was a pity that we didn’t take this (win) against Brazil, it would have been so important for us, for our confidence – even though we can be satisfied with this game. It was a really tough game against Brazil. If I can say, we lost tonight because we need more experience to play a game like this,” the Montenegrin added.
The defeat put Iran in eighth place of the 12-team table after five round of games.
Also on Sunday, the host Japan beat Argentina in four sets to move up to fourth in the table, with USA and Poland – second and third respectively – posting straight-sets victories over Tunisia and Italy.
Brazil tops the table with a perfect run.
Iran will next face USA in Hiroshima on Wednesday.