Erfan Norouzi expresses the passion of Iran as they beat India in their first match at the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship in Tehran.

Aspiring at their third gold medal in the history of the competition, hosts Iran opened their campaign at the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship which continues in Tehran with a convincing win over India that declares that they're the team to beat this year.

Iran overwhelmed their Asian rivals 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-22), with Poriya Khanzadeh blasting home 13 points (including three aces) to lead the scoring for the home side.

Although India conceded as many as 25 unforced errors, their resistance was not negligible, with Aman Kumar scoring 15 points and Tanish Choudhary adding another 14. Iran had to rally from four points behind at 17-21 in the first set.

Defending champions Italy, meanwhile, scored their second win on the trot in a straight-set affair of 3-0 (25-19, 29-27, 25-15) on the back of 14 points each from Alessandro Bovolenta and Luca Porro - though David Kollator of the Czech Republic was top scorer of the match on 17.

Italy survived a bit of a scare in the second set, taking them four set points to wrap it up (and in the meantime fending off one set point of the Czechs) with a kill by Mattia Boninfante.


Alessandro Bovolenta in action at Tehran as he leads Italy in their win over the Czech Republic at the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship.

But, in the same pool as Italy, Brazil bounced back from their opening day defeat to the defending champions with a solid 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-21) over Belarus that keeps them very much in the race for a ticket to the quarterfinals.

Arthur Buczmiejuk was once again Brazil's best scorer on 15 points with Carlos Rodrigues adding another 13 - four of those aces as the six-time gold medallists pressed Belarus from the service line.

Top scorer of the match, however, was Belarus' Arseniy Palonski with 20 points - the result of a very impressive attacking efficiency of 70% (19/27).


Brazil's Thiery Oliveira gets the ball past the block of Belarus' Hleb Azaranka on Day 2 of the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship.

But it was the 2017 and 2019 silver medallists Russia who made an impact on Wednesday, as they downed Bulgaria 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 32-30, 25-22) in a true cliff-hanger that sees them undefeated and practically qualified for the quarterfinals.

Bulgaria, meanwhile, still have a critical match they need to take against Belgium if they're to make the last eight.

Bulgaria did have a chance to go 2-1 up, but failed to convert three set points at the end of the third before Russia responded on their own fifth attempt with back-to-back points from an attack by Mikhail Labinskii and an ace on the end line by Kirill Vlasov that Ivan Tassev could not return.

Heated words by coach Martin Stoev to his players in the interval did not really change the flow of the game and Russia overurned an early Bulgarian lead to finish it off with yet another ace by Timofei Tikhonov on Vladimir Garkov.

Labinskii, with 23 points and a 62% attacking efficiency (22/35), was again key in Russia's win and the 18-year-old Zenit Kazan player leads the overall scorers table of the tournament.

Top scorer of the match on 29 points and an incredible 83% (25/30) was Bulgaria's Aleksandar Nikolov, but his amazing performance was not quite enough to see Bulgaria past Russia.

Argentina also collected their second win on the court (making it three counting the forfeited match against the Dominican who withdrew from the competition) with a very decisive 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 25-22) win that leaves the South American undefeated.

Argentina struggled at times to deal with Germany's block, but were led by Giuliano Turcitu who scored a match high of 18 points with an attacking efficiency of 64% (18/28).

Elsewhere, Thailand, in just their second appearance at an U19 World Championship (their first being back in 2003 when they ranked 6th) registered their first win in Tehran, coming back from a set down to beat Cameroon 3-1 (22-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-20).

Sixteen-year-old Kittipong Sangsak served five aces and scored a match high of 18 points to lead Thailand, much to the delight of tens of thousands of fans at home who were watching the match online.

And in other action on Day 2 at Tehran Poland shut out Nigeria 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-18) with overpowering blocking (12 stuffs to 1) and serving (6 aces to 1).

Tytus Nowik bagged 13 points and Piotr Sliwka added another 10 - the only two players in the match to score in double digits.

Action continues on Thursday at the two venues of the Azadi Sports Complex with round 3 of pool play. All matches are televised live on the Volleyball World YouTube Channel, where they're also available to watch on demand.