Tehran, Iran, August 23- Hosts Iran and European champion Italy suffered shock defeats and Bulgaria had a stunning victory to open the 12th Men's Under 21 World Championship here in the Iranian capital.
Korea prevailed over Iran 3-1(28-26, 18-25,25-23, 25-23) in Pool a, dubbed the Pool of Death, while Serbia and Montenegro beat Italy 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 22-25,26-24) in 92 minutes of great volleyball.
The Koreans fought hard with hosts Iran, who were well supported by 6000 spectators and managed to take the first set 28-26 with their super star Kang Dong in the top form.
Iran responded quickly and with a good performance by Kolivand Rohallah, allowed the Korean only 18 points in the second. But it was Korea's day and they took the next two sets both with 25-23.
Serbia and Montenegro's battle between traditional rivals Italy was the highlight of Pool D. Serbia and Montenegro led from the start with setter Vlado Petkovic distributing well to his attackers and Boris Bakalov spiking to lead 8-6, and 16-15. Italy made a comeback to 17-16 before Serbia and Montenegro sealed the set 25-20.
Italy's errors in the second and excellent blocking by Novica Bjelica and Marko Narancic, with good backline defense led by libero Nikola Rosic gave Serbia and Montenegro the second 25-22. Italy responded strongly, taking the third set 25-22 and led through the fourth to set point at 24-21. before the opponents pounded home 5 points to win the set 26-24 and the match.
Bulgaria's opener in Pool D was an easy straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-22) over Slovakia, even though they had to recover from a slow start.
In other action Canada had an easy victory over Tunisia and Robert Kromm of Germany led his side to straight-sets victory over India in Pool B, while Russia dismissed China in another Pool B match.
Egypt won the crucial match against Venezeuela 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-11) in the day's only tiebreaker and favorites Brazil dismissed Poland in straight sets.
Story by Tarek Aladwar, CAVB Confederation Press officer