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Brazil lone unbeaten team after Men’s World Cup Day 3

Brazil stay on top of the standings with a 3-0 card after Friday's matches
Fukuoka and Nagano, Japan, October 4, 2019 – Brazil bagged their third win at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup after a 3-1 defeat (25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22) of Egypt in Friday evening’s main event at Site B Nagano. 

The victory places the reigning Olympic champions at the top of the rankings (with 9 full points) as the only unbeaten team after Day 3. Yoandy Leal Hidalgo (22 points) and Alan Souza (20 points) were Brazil’s main hitters.

Captain Bruno Rezende said: “I think one thing that is really important is that we have not just seven players, we have 14 players and that can make the difference in a long competition. I think that’s a really important, positive thing for us, and I think we have to use that, like we did tonight with the entrance of Mauricio (Borges Almeida Silva) in place of Lucarelli (Ricardo Lucarelli Souza) and Flavio (Gualberto) in place of Mauricio (Luiz De Souza). That will be something I think will happen against all teams. It’s a really difficult tournament and I hope that our team can make the difference, not just one, two, or three players.”

USA 3–1 Poland 

Defending champions USA retain the second spot in the standings after defeating Poland 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 24-26, 27-25) in the second match in Site B Fukuoka. 

2015 World Cup MVP Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell led in attack.

Wilfredo Leon’s scoring runs and captain Bartosz Kurek helped ensure the points for the Polish side.

The match went into a tight contest. USA proved they could handle the decisive moments with better defence, including a super save by Thomas Jaeschke.

Japan 3-1 Tunisia 
Japan settled into the third spot after defeating Tunisia in straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-11) at the Marinmesse in Fukuoka. 

The host team showed better control of the match, getting their offence into system. The Asian side also took full advantage of their strong serves. They scored a total of 11 aces, seven of which were unleashed in the third set. Opposite spiker Yuji Nishida led all scorers with 17 points. 

Australia 3-2 Russia 

Australia registered their first win, as they took the tie-break win 3-2 (25-16, 22-25, 26-28, 25-21, 15-12) against two-time VNL champions Russia.

Friday’s match brings the Australians to a historic milestone, as they recorded their first-ever victory against the Russians (including predecessor teams) in fourteen world-level outings.

Volleyroos captain Max Staples shares his comments at the White Ring Nagano Press Centre

Australia captain Max Staples said “When you start a fifth set that’s the point that you’ve got to believe you can do it. If you don’t believe it then then it’s not happening. It’s 0-0 at the start of the fifth, first whistle, that’s when it’s time to go. We had a couple of points lead at the start of the fifth set but Russia’s a team capable of chipping that away, they can bomb a couple of serves and they did – I got hit on the chest with one down the line – but that’s the thing, 0-0 is where you start.” 

Italy 3-2 Argentina 
Italy bounced back from two sets down to get their first win, 3-2 (26-28, 17-25, 25-12, 25-18, 15-10) against Argentina. 

The Argentine squad relied on Bruno Lima, Ezequiel Palacios and Agustin Loser on attack, who helped towards a huge 2-0 advantage on the Italians. The European side needed to regroup to get back in the game, and they utilised their blocks, converting off a total of 15 deflections in the match. 

Opposite Gabriele Nelli topped all scorers on the board with 23 points.

“It was a very difficult game against Argentina. I think that the key to this win was our strong serve and good reception. When we got our strong serve, good reception and attack working, it gave us that rhythm to continue and win this match,” said Nelli. 

Iran 3-1 Canada 

Iran picked up their first win of the competition, after handing a 3-1  (18-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19) defeat to Canada in Nagano’s opener on Friday. 

Coach Igor Kolakovic relied on his younger players, utilising Amirhossein Esfandiar and Porya Yali in his starting line-up. They got off to a good start but saw their opponents Canada respond with better passing and overall rhythm, playing Sharone Vernon-Evans and Stephen Maar in attack.

No. 22 Amirhossein Esfandiar started for Iran on Friday and scored 14 points

Later, Iran's improved defence helped them get their plays converted. The Asian side’s middles also picked up their pace. Aliasghar Mojarad converted mostly on quick attacks, and gave good service runs. 

“Mojarad is more of a blocker than an attacker. Tonight I’m not satisfied with his block, because he can be much better in the block, even though he made some points in attack. But tonight he surprised me with his service, because he didn’t make as many mistakes as usual, and for that reason I am happy with his performance tonight,” said Iran’s coach Kolakovic. 

Iran’s young starters continued their success, with the help of Milad Ebadipour and Farhad Ghaemi adding in their experience for the victory in four sets. 

Teams stay on for two more match days in Site A Fukuoka and Site B Nagano, before converging on Hiroshima for the completion of the competition’s single round-robin format. The 2019 winners will be confirmed and awarded on Tuesday, October 15, at Hiroshima’s Green Arena.

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