Iran overcomes Japan in FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup

Press TV – The national Iranian men’s volleyball team has achieved a come-from-behind win at the 2017 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup, beating the Japanese squad.

The Iranian squad triumphed over Ryujin Nippon 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-14) in a fixture staged at the Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium in the south-central Japanese city of Osaka on Saturday.

The Japanese volleyball players started the opening set vigorously, and were on fire to exert their dominance. They finally took the set by 25 points to 21.

The Persians, however, stunned Japan’s fans when they reclaimed the lead in the second set. They kept pace to establish a six-point lead, and won the set at 25-19.

The Iranian sportsmen cherished their hopes in the third set. They employed an array of attacks, and the set was sealed at 25-20 Iran’s way at last.

Iran’s determination to notch up victory remained strong as the match went into the fourth set. Iran started well and finished the set at 25-14 and celebrated the win.

Amir Ghafour was the leading scorer for Iran with 23 points, while Japan’s Issei Otake collected 16 points.

The photo shows a view of the match between Iran (players in white) and Japan in FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan, on September 16, 2017.

“We expected a difficult game against Japan because we needed time to adapt to their game. They are very good in defense. They are not perfect, but all the time they control the ball in their field. From my experience playing with my ex-national team Serbia they are always difficult to play against especially in the first set and that was the case today, but afterward we controlled the game. I’m so happy for my players because they played a serious game and it’s not easy to play here. We have a lot of pressure tomorrow because it’s a big day for us as we try to reach a medal,” Iran’s coach Igor Kolakovic said after the match.

Iranian captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani said, “It’s always hard to play Japan so we knew it would be a tough match today. We didn’t have a perfect start but after that we controlled the game and the last three sets were very good for us. Our serve and reception was good today and we played our side-outs with more confidence than in other matches.”

“In the first set, we came out very good. We wanted to play like yesterday and (Issei) Otake was spiking well and we were able to take the set. But after that, their service disrupted our reception and our attacks were stopped and we fell into our usual losing pattern and gradually lost concentration.

“We had blocking counter-measures to tackle their offence but they concentrated on our weak points and that’s also a pattern in our games. They were very efficient in attacking our weaknesses,” Japan’s coach Yuichi Nakagaichi commented.

The national Iranian men’s volleyball team is scheduled to play against France in its last match at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup on Sunday.