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Russia and Iran score second wins to stay on track

 
Russia’s best scorer Volkov sneaks the ball past Cuba’s block
St. Petersburg, Russia, August 10, 2019 – Iran and hosts Russia scored their second victories in Pool E of Tokyo Volleyball Qualification on Saturday to set up their Sunday’s clash with each other as the decider for the single Olympic quota available from the event in St. Petersburg. Giving rest to most of their key players, the Iranians mastered a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 27-25) win over Mexico with Porya Yali celebrating with 20 points. Russia pleased the home fans with a hard-earned 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 27-25) shutout of Cuba. Dmitry Volkov contributed 15 points to the win. Jesus Herrera Jaime also scored 15 for the Caribbean side.

Pre-match stats:

Iran - Mexico (August 10, 2019) 
Head-to-Head
• Iran and Mexico meet for the first time in the last seven world Olympic qualifying campaigns (1996-2020).
• Mexico defeated Iran 3-1 at the 1991 World Cup, their only meeting at a major world level competition.
• Major world level competitions are: Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League, Nations League, Grand Champions Cup.

Iran
• Iran came from two sets behind to defeat Cuba 3-2 in their opening qualifying match in Saint Petersburg.
• Iran participated once in the Olympic Games, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, finishing in joint-fifth place.
• Iran won each of their last five world Olympic qualification matches, since a 3-0 defeat against France in 2016.
• Iran had five players with double figures in points versus Cuba, with Ali Shafiei (20) amassing the most.

Mexico
• Mexico lost their opening match in Tokyo 2020 qualifying 3-0 against Russia.
• Mexico participated twice in the Olympic Games, in 1968 as the host nation and in 2016. Mexico finished in (joint) last place in both editions: 10th in 1968 and joint-11th in 2016.
• Daniel Vargas scored nine of Mexico's 43 points against Russia. He also produced two of his team's three stuff blocks won.
• Coach Jorge Miguel Azair Lopez used 13 of his 14 players in the match in Saint Petersburg on Friday. Only Alejandro Moreno did not see any playing time.

Russia - Cuba (August 10, 2019) 
Head-to-Head
• Russia and Cuba meet for the first time in the last seven world Olympic qualifying campaigns (1996-2020).
• Russia (incl. predecessors) won 42 of their 65 encounters with Cuba in major world level tournaments (Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League, Nations League, Grand Champions Cup).
• Russia won four of their last five world level matches against Cuba, with a 3-1 defeat in the 2013 World League as the only exception in that run.
• These teams met six times at the Olympic Games, with Cuba's only win a 3-1 victory against Unified Team in the group stage of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
• Russia beat Cuba 3-1 in the group stage of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, their most recent world level encounter.

Russia
• Russia beat Mexico in straight sets in Saint Petersburg on Friday, conceding only 43 points.
• Russia (NOC) competed in each of the last six Olympic Games, from 1996 to 2016. Soviet Union participated from 1964 to 1980 and in 1988, while Unified Team played in the 1992 edition.
• Russia (NOC) collected four Olympic medals in the men's tournament: gold in 2012, silver in 2000 and bronze in 2004 and 2008. Soviet Union (G3-S2-B1) won a joint-record three gold and a joint-record six total medals in the Olympic Games.
• Russia had 10 different points scorers versus Mexico on Friday, with Dmitriy Muserskiy (8) amassing the most.
• Russia outserved Mexico by eight aces to one on Friday, despite Egor Kliuka remaining on the bench the whole match. Kliuka was the best server in the Volleyball Nations League earlier this summer.

Cuba
• Cuba lost 3-2 against Iran on Friday despite winning both of the first two sets.
• Cuba could still qualify for their eighth Olympic Games. Their best result came in 1976, when they took the bronze medal.
• Marlon Yang Herrera and Osniel Lazaro Mergarejo Hernandez (both 15) were Cuba's joint-leading points scorers versus Iran in Saint Petersburg.
• Coach Nicolas Ernesto Vives Coffigny gave all 12 members of his team playing time against Iran. Nine of them registered at least one point.

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