Kovach pleased with gained experience, general outcome in FIVB matches

Rome, July 21, IRNA – Serbian head coach of Iranian national volleyball team said after defeat before Italian host team: Although we made many mistakes in tonight's game, we played better than the yesterday match (versus US).

'I believe we played a better game compared to our performance yesterday, but that was not enough and our mistakes were again many. Of course these competitions are held at the highest world level and under these conditions such fluctuations in the team's performance level are natural,' said Slobodan Kovach after the Iranian side's 3-nil loss to Italy.

He said that his team's players had no previous experience of that level of the FIVB World League thus far and all in all, their world rank was satisfactory.

'We not only emerged to the final round of the matches, but also managed to rise to the final four teams' competitions,' he said.

Pointing out that this was only the Iranian national volleyball team's 2nd attendance in the FIVB World League, while the other participating teams have long records of attendance in it, he said, 'In our last competitions we should have changed certain things, and of course we had changed some players, as we were urged to do so.'

'As of today we will be focusing our efforts on the Basketball World Cup games, which are of great importance,' he said, adding, 'I have good and powerful players, who gained a very good experience in these games that were very tough and too lengthy.'

The Iranian national volleyball team lost its two final games to the US and Italian teams 3-nil sufficing to a world 4th position.

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.