Tehran, Iran, August 30 - The two favorites ahead of the Men's Under 21 World Championship semifinals on Saturday, Brazil and Poland, played accordingly and booked themselves a spot in Sunday's final after respective wins over South Korea and Bulgaria respectively.
Brazil beat the surprise package of the tournament, South Korea, in straight sets (25-18, 25-20, 25-19) in the shortest of Saturday's matches while Poland, led by spiker Mariusz Wlazy and the talented setter Pawel Woicki, came from one set behind to record a 3-1 (21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21) victory to reach the final for only the second time in their history.
Such was the way Brazil were in control of their game, Brazilian coach Antonio Larbach used all his substitutes in the third set. The defending champions controlled the net from the opening whistle with their taller and more talent players, namely Wallace Martins.
Meanwhile, Poland felt the early wrath of Bulgaria, who had upset Russia in Friday's quarterfinals, as the Eastern Europeans strolled out to a first set lead. But this was the calling of the Polish superstar Wlazy who led his team to take the next three sets.
In other matches played on Saturday, hosts Iran won a decisive five set match over Germany (25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12) in their semifinal for positions 5-8 to regain the trust of their supporters, one day after their Championship dreams evaporated against Brazil. Iran's star player Mohammad Soleimani was the man of the match as he scored 42 points in an epic encounter.
In the other semifinal for positions 5-8, Russia fought out a tough five setter with Serbia Montenegro in 111 minutes, in a match many thought would be a semifinal after both made surprise exits in Friday's quarterfinals. Russia won 3-2 (25-17, 24-26, 28-30, 25-23, 15-7).
Sunday's actions see Brazil will defend their title against Poland, while Bulgaria meets South Korea for the third and fourth positions. Iran plays Russia for the fifth and sixth places, while Serbia Montenegro will meet Germany for seventh and eighth positions.