Iran's world 4th volleyball power in FIVB League, best Asian rank ever

Tehran, July 20, IRNA – Sum up of Iranian national volleyball team's 16 games in FIVB 2014 World League was a fourth place in the games, the best ranks ever in the 25 year history of this league.

The most prestigious Asian teams in FIVB World League include Japan, South Korea and China. They have respectively attended these competitions 20, 15 and 14 times and they are the only Asian teams with lone records of attendance in these games.

Japan ranked 6th three times in the years 1990, 1993 and 2008, while South Korea and China, too, ranked the same respectively in the years 1995 and 1996 as the best Asian games in the FIVB World League.

The national Iranian volleyball team last year with its Argentinean Head Coach Julio Velasco attended the FIVB World League for the first time in 2013 and ranked world 9th.

The year, coached by their Head Coach Serbian Slobodan Kovach, the Iranian athletes managed to secure their 4th place in world ranking, after playing the following games:

Iran had lost its first match against the Russians 3-2, gaining 1 point and giving 2 to the 2013 world champions.

Brazil won Russia 3-1 and reserved a place in the semifinals with 3 points.

Iran thus stood at the top of their group with 4 points and Brazil with 3 points from Finals Group 1 along with Italy and USA from Finals Group.

The final round of the FIVB Men's Volleyball World League group matches was held from July 16 to 20 in Florence, Italy, and Iran's national volleyball team had been pooled in Group 1 with Russia and Brazil. Italy, USA and Australia were in Group 2.

Iran lost its semi-final game to USA 3-nil although it had earlier beat the prestigious Brazilian side 3-nil and in its last game, too, it yielded to host team, Italy's 3-nil victory to gain no better result than the world 4th position.

To advance to this last episode of the 2014 World League, Iran played had 12 games in the preliminary round of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) 2014 World League against Brazil, Italy and Poland, winning six games and losing as many.

The Iranian volleyball athletes began their performance in the preliminary round on May 30 with a game versus Italy in that country’s Christie City, and played their last preliminary round game on July 5, in Poland’s Gdansk, gaining 19 points all together and standing second only to Italy who had gathered the same points, but had a better sets ratio.

Italy who host the finals and stood first in the preliminary round, Iran who stood second in preliminary Pool A, and Brazil who stood third in Pool A as well as USA, the Pool B winners, Russia who stood second in preliminary round in Pool B and Australia who championed in a series of matches among the winners of other pools were the six nations present in this year’s World League Finals in Florence.

Now after the end of this round in Italy, winners of each group played with the second team of the other group (19 July), Iran and the winners of these matches will fight for the title of volleyball world league champion (20 July).

Experts have expressed deep surprise after Iran powerfully qualified for this round. In their previous performance in the FIVB World League in 2013 – Iran's first ever presence - under their former Head Coach Julio Velasco, they gained the 9th place, registering an effective and historical presence in the world volleyball competitions.

At the end of the preliminary round earlier this month, Iranian volleyball athlete Mohammad Moussavi Araqi was selected as the best defender of the FIVB 2014 Men's Volleyball premier league with 96 points.

The Iranian national team is comprised of Saeed Maˈroof, Mohammad Moussavi Araqi, Farhad Ghaemi, Adel Gholami, Mojtaba Mirza Jaanpour, Farhad Zarif, Mehdi Mahdavi, Amir Ghafour, Armin Tashakori, Milad Ebadi Pour, Pourya Fayyazi, Reza Ghara, Abdolreza Alizadeh and Saeed Mostafavand.

Iran’s head coach, Slobodan Kovach, started training sessions to get his men prepared for the final round of the World League after inviting three new players to the team last week.

Saeed Mostafavand, Alireza Mobasheri and Abdolreza Alizadeh were called last Wednesday to help Iran in the finals.

The Iranian national team flew to Italy on Monday morning. Iran's coach, Hossein Ma'dani, is not accompanying Kovach because of medical problems.

Brazil (9), Italy (8), Russia (3), Cuba, the Netherlands, Poland and USA (all 1) are the seven countries who have won the World League during its previous 24 editions. Serbia and France join as the only countries to have medaled in the past.