Poland shut out hosts Iran 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-15) Friday to finish top of their pool standings with a day to spare in pool play at the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship in Tehran and gain an advantage ahead of the knockout stage of the competition which begins on Monday.
Poland oust hosts Iran for pole position at Boys' U19 Worlds
Knockout stage taking shape with one round of pool play remaining in Tehran
Publicado 06:01, 27 ago. 2021
Poland, who top Pool A on an absolutely perfect record of four wins (three on court and one a forfeit by Guatemala who withdrew), 12 points and 12-0 sets, will now meet the fourth-ranked team of Pool B which will be either Colombia or Belarus - to be decided on Saturday, the closing day of pool play in the Iranian capital.
Iran also advance out of Pool A to the Round of 16, but they are now up against either the Czech Republic or Brazil.
It was as intense and passionate as any Iran v Poland match - though a couple of red cards, one on either side midway through the second set, did help calm things down.
On the court, however, Poland proved much more decisive and efficient at the critical stages of the first two sets, leading for most of the time and successfully resisting any attempt by Iran to get back in the game. By the third, Iran had run out of steam.
Piotr Sliwka and Tytus Nowik shared top scoring honours with 15 points each for Poland, who wrapped up the match without a single substitution, but Iran relied a bit too much on Amir Golzadeh who was the only player of the home side to go into double digits with 14.
Defending champions Italy, meanwhile, also completed their pool play obligations undefeated, on full points and without having dropped a single set, following their sweep of Colombia 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-18) on Friday.
This leaves Colombia winless, but still in the race for a ticket to the Round of 16, if they can beat Belarus in their closing pool play match on Saturday.
Italy came up a rather formidable block of Colombia, but eventually were highly more efficient in attacking (58% to Colombia's 38%).
Alessandro Bovolenta led the scoring on 12 points, with teammate Luca Porro adding another 11 for Italy - the only two players across both sides to venture into double figures.
The result means Italy secure first place in Pool B, which gives them an advantage for the knockout Round of 16 where they will face the fourth-ranked team of Pool A (in all probability Nigeria).
"We did not have a good game," said coach Vincenzo Faninza after the game. "We need to do better than this and improve. It is important for us to be in the final and we must be much better to achieve this goal."
Also in Pool B, runners-up at the last European Championship in this age group Czech Republic secured their second win in Tehran with a solid 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-23) over Belarus - and now face Brazil on Saturday to decide second place in the pool.
Jan Jirasek with 13 points and David Kollator with 12 were the only players in the match to go into double-digit scoring.
Russia, the 2019 Boys' U19 World Championship runners-up, also wrapped up pool play undefeated and on full points with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-23) win over Thailand as coach Maxim Maximov got the chance to give playing time to every single one of his players.
Russia, who rest on Saturday, secured top position in Pool C and will now face the fourth-ranked team of Pool D - either Egypt or Cuba - in the Round of 16.
The Europeans dominated play on the net, with Kirill Vlasov leading his side on 18 points, including four aces - though it was Thailand's Kittipong Sangsak who edged him for the match high of 19.
"Thailand used a very different attack system, that is not common in Europe and the world," coach Maximov said after the game. "We had to do a lot of technical work. They played a complicated game and we had to be very careful in defence, on the net and on the court."
In other Friday action in Tehran, Germany secured second place of Pool D after shutting down Egypt 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) with an overwhelming performance across all skills and a team high of 10 points by Jannes Wiesner (though the match high came from Egypt's Zyad Mohamed at 14).
Argentina, bronze medallists last time around, have already grabbed first place in the pool after an undefeated run, to face the fourth-ranked team of Pool C.
And Belgium grabbed their first win of the tournament with a dominating and convincing 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-22) sweep of Cameroon - a huge step for the European side in their search for a ticket to the last 16 through Pool C.
Belgium were led by some high scoring from Ferre Reggers who registered a match high of 20 points, including three blocks and and five aces, as his side benefited from a set's-worth of unforced errors from Cameroon.
Action continues on Saturday at the two venues of the Azadi Sports Complex with the last round of pool play.
All teams will rest on Sunday, ahead of the knockout stage of the competition which begins on Monday 31 August.