Defending champions Italy thundered into the quarterfinals of the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship which continues in Tehran with a quick and easy sweep of Nigeria that has them on track to repeat the feat of two years ago in Tunis.
Top seeds thunder through to Boys' U19 Worlds quartefinals
Poland, Italy, Russia, Argentina plus hosts Iran, Brazil, Bulgaria and Germany in last eight
Publicado 07:08, 30 ago. 2021
All the favourites (and top seeds, according to the pool standings) in the Round of 16 advanced to the last eight, with leaders Poland, Russia, Argentina joined by hosts Iran, Brazil, Bulgaria and Germany in last eight alongside Italy.
Quarterfinals matchups for Tuesday:
● Italy v Bulgaria
● Brazil v Russia
● Germany v Poland
● Argentina v Iran
All other teams also continue in the competition, in classification matches for all positions in the final ranking.
Italy promptly dealt with Nigeria 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-17) in just slightly over an hour with a serving performance of six aces (to none) that hindered India's play.
Eight stuffs by middle blocker Cosimo Balestra (out of his team's total nine) for a match high scoring of 14 was key to Italy's domination. The 17-year-old's teammates Alessandro Bovolenta (also 17) and Gaetano Penna (16) added another 11 points - the only players across both teams to score in double digits.
Russia too remained on track - eyeing now their third back-to-back appearance in a final of the Boys' U19 World Championship (though neither their 2017 nor 2019 campaigns resulted in gold).
With captain Mikhail Labinskii back on court for a full match and contributing nine points, plus a match high of 12 by Timofei Tikhonov and 100% (6/6) attacking from the middle by Daniil Ivanov, Russia had little trouble in disposing of Cuba 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-17).
Serving, with Russia's five aces to none, was yet again a deciding factor for the result.
And Argentina outblocked Thailand 12 to nothing, also in just barely over an hour, with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-15) shutout on the back of a match high of 12 points by Imanol Salazar.
"I am very happy and satisfied with the performance of my players," head coach Pablo Rico said after the win. "We performed very well in defence and service."
Poland completed the sweeps of the top four with yet another serving bonanza of seven aces (four by Kajetan Kubicki) for a solid 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-12) win over Colombia.
Tytus Nowik led the scoring on 13 points - just one more than Miguel Angel Martinez of Colombia.
"Because we have an important game tomorrow, we needed to finish today's game earlier to have more time to rest - which we did," said Poland coach Michal Bakiewicz after the game. "According to the analysis we already had on Colombia, we knew they were a very physical team and we needed to play smart against them."
All four of the second-ranked teams in the pools also advanced to the quarterfinals - though with varying degrees of difficulty.
Hosts Iran had a little bit of drama in the first set, but took down the Czech Republic 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-13) without any mishaps - though now they have the formidable obstacle of 2019 bronze medallists Argentina in front of them.
Iran were first at set point in the first with three to spare at 24-21, but allowed the Czech Republic to come back and draw level, before a kill by Amir Golzadeh brought them to their fourth set point with another attack by Younes Javan.
The hosts were led by Amir Golzadeh's match high of 16 points. He was just one over the Czech Republic's David Kollator.
In the only of the Round of 16 match that extended beyond three sets, Germany twice came back from a set down to edge Belgium by the slightest of margins, 3-2 (17-25, 28-26, 17-25, 29-27, 15-9) after over two hours of play.
Belgium could have gone two sets up, but missed out on three set points in the second. They could also have closed the match in four but again blew a match point in the fourth after a spectacular rally that ended with a hit by Jannes Wiesner to keep Germany alive. Eventually, Germany forced the tie-break in their own fourth attempt, taking advantage of an attacking error by Ferre Reggers.
Wiesner narrowly missed out on hitting the 30+ mark, finishing on 29 points, the day's overall high.
Earlier in the day, six-time gold medallists (though not since 2003) Brazil overwhelmed India 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-23) with a match high of 19 points from captain Arthur Buczmiejuk.
Bulgaria also made short work of Egypt, dispatching the African 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-12) with a tournament high 13 aces (four each by Vladimir Garkov and Aleksandar Nikolov, three by Boris Nachev alone) to none.
Garkov with 14 points was top scorer of the game.
In the classification match for positions 17 and 18 in the final ranking, Belarus shut out Cameroon 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-15). Arseniy Palonski on 15 points was the only player across both sides to score in double digits.
Belarus take 17th place - their lowest finish in three appearances (9th in 1993 and 8th in 2019) at the Boys' U19 World Championship. Cameroon, who were making their debut in the competition this year, rank 17th.
Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, who forfeited all their games in Tehran after failing to travel due to Covid-19 cases, rank joint 19th.
All teams continue in the competition, in classification matches for all positions in the final ranking.