In an elimination match, Brazil needed five sets to win against Iran (25:20, 25:23, 24:26, 20:25, 15:10) to move on to the FIVB Volleyball Nations League semifinals, in which will play against the hosts USA. Brazil is the last team to qualify for the semifinals.
After three high-volleyball days at the Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago, the four semifinalists were confirmed as Brazil joined hosts USA, Russia and Poland in the penultimate stage of the competition.
In a match opposing the best scorer of the competition, Amir Ghafour of Iran, and its most effective attacker, Ricardo Luccarelli of Brazil, the teams that finished respectively first and second of the Preliminary Round of the competition did not disappoint an enthusiastic crowd. After the first two sets won by Brazil, Iran returned to the court in the third set, however, by taking a four-point lead at 5-1 and held on to their advantage until Brazil levelled scores at 22-22. It was not enough for Brazil, because the opponents claimed the set 26-24.
Coach Igor Kolakovic’s team was unstoppable taking also the fourth set 25-20. Brazil took the first point at tie break and the South Americans move to 11:9 and reach their match point at 14:10. A Yoandy Leal block closed the match.
Iranian Milad Ebadipour was the top scorer of the match with 22 points, while Amir Ghafour added 19.
Lucarelli scored 16 for Brazil, including 6 aces, while Lukas Saatkamp scored 14 including 6 winning-blocks.
Brazil Captain Bruno Rezende on rallying in the fifth set: “I think we made some great serve. At one point of the match they started to receive really well. Then (Iran setter) Marouf starts to play with a fast offense – it was difficult for our block. In the end of the match, our serve made a difference with two aces and other good serves that put them in difficulty. And that was the key for this tiebreak.”
Brazil Captain Bruno Rezende on preparing Iran: “It is not very different than maybe some traditional teams. We were playing against a strong team, we have known them for a long time. They have really good players who play all over the world. We know everybody and how strong the Iranian team is. We try and have as much respect for them. We just try to focus on what we can of their setter, Marouf.”
Iran Head Coach Igor Kolakovic: “It was an important game for us, as well as Brazil. With the long defeat with Poland. We didn’t have an opportunity to play with all our energy. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough power to finish this game.”
Iran Player Milad Ebadipour: “It was a really tough match for us. We showed that we are one of the best teams in the world. We can’t take baby steps before the Olympic Games. We have to wait and continue our best like this tournament. We can’t change the future. Everything is in our hands.”
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League – Semifinals on July 13:
Poland-Russia at 17.00 local time
USA-Brazil at 20.00 local time
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Final Six – Day 3:
Brazil – Iran 3-2 (25:20, 25:23, 24:26, 20:25, 15:10)
USA – Russia 3-0 (25:21, 25:17, 25:20)
Source and Photos: volleyball.world