Tehran, Iran, August 24, 2003 - European Champions Italy are on the verge of being knocked out of the 12th Men's Under 21 World Championship after losing for the second successive time in day two action on Sunday in Tehran, Iran going down to Slovakia 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-23). The Italians lost their opening match to Serbia and Montenegro and must now beat Bulgaria in their final pool match on Monday.
Five teams, Serbia Montenegro, South Korea, Brazil, Russia and Germany clinched their second win in a row to secure a place in the second round.
Italy were completely out of form when they suffered an unexpected defeat against the better performed Slovakians in their Pool D match. Local reporters said the Italians had played their worst ever international match in the last two decades due to silly mistakes. "My team is not emotionally ready for this competition," said the disappointed Italian coach, Roberto Santilli. "We couldn't control our situation."
The second match in Pool D saw Serbia Montenegro clinch their second round spot by beating Bulgaria in straight sets 25-17, 25-19, 29-27 thanks to an excellent performance from their super star Vladan Djordjevic.
Meanwhile, Brazil secured a place in the second round after a tough 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 26-24, 25-28) win over Canada in Pool C. Samuel Fuchs and Wallace Martins led the way for the defending champions against a well organised Canadian defense.
The other Pool C match saw Michal Winiarski and Marcel Gromadowiski lead Poland to the fastest win in the competition so far after they defeated Tunisia in less than an hour in Pool C in straight sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-17), to leave Tunisia on the verge of elimination.
In Pool A, South Korea continued their good form with their second win, this time over Venezuela in a tie breaker 3-2 (19-25, 28-26, 25-20, 23-25, 19-17). It took 111 minutes for Korea to hand Venezuela their second defeat of the tournament in the longest and most exciting match in the competition up till now.
In the same pool, hosts Iran registered their first win of the tournament with an unconvincing 3-1(25-15, 25-17, 20-25, 25-17) victory over Egypt. Star player Kolivand Rohallah failed to inspire his teammates in front of over 7,000 spectators while Egypt's hero was Salah Eldein, who was the best scorer of the match.
In Pool B, both Russia and Germany registered their second wins to insure qualification to the second round. Russia had a straight sets win over the inexperienced Indian side (25-23, 25-15, 25-14) with Andrei Achtchev and Pavel Kruglov leading the way on attack while Germany managed to dismiss China 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-15) through the excellent attacking skills of Jochen Schops.