Tokyo, Japan, November 23, 2013 – On
Saturday Brazil missed out on an opportunity to seize gold even with one round
still to go before the Men’s World Grand Champions Cup comes to a close Sunday
in Tokyo as the triple world champions could not capitalize on a 2-0 lead in
their much anticipated game with Russia. Similarly to what they had done at
London 2012, the Russian players stormed back from two sets down to sweep three
in a row (20-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17, and 15-9) and re-open the fate of the
Brazil – who are vying for their third consecutive World Grand Champions Cup title and fourth overall – still top the charts with 10 points but will have to deliver a strong performance on Sunday as they play third-placed Italy to make sure they add another honour to their resume. On the next-to-last day of the tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium Iran opened the programme by upsetting USA 3-2 (28-26, 19-25, 19-25, 27-25, and 18-16) to claim their second victory in the tournament. Italy also bounced back after yesterday’s defeat to USA to rout Team Japan in straight sets (25-16, 25-21, and 25-21) to move up to third place in the standing of the tournament and stay in contention for a medal.
As they are ranked second and third respectively with eight points apiece, Russia and Italy have both a shot at gold. Brazil and Italy will play the first match of the final day on Sunday before USA and Russia prolong their long-lasting rivalry; if Brazil beat Italy 3:0 or 3:1, they will book gold while Russia, USA and Italy would battle for silver and bronze. Hosts Japan will try to finish the tournament on a high note as they round out the programme of the competition by taking on two-time Asian champions Iran.
Iran scored a dramatic five-set victory over the United States 28-26, 19-25, 19-25, 27-25, 18-16 in their round-robin match at the World Grand Champions Cup on Saturday. The result left both teams with a 2-2 record. The contest marked the first meeting ever between the countries in the World Grand Champions Cup and only third overall. It is the first time Iran has beaten the U.S. in an FIVB competition.
Mojtaba Mirzajanpour led Iran with 13 points in the triumph. Shahram Mahmoudi and Farhad Ghaemi added 11 each. Matthew Anderson scored a match-high 25 points for the U.S. in the loss. William Priddy and Maxwell Holt contributed 18 apiece. Iran played very well in the opening set, but appeared unable to keep up the pace against the powerful American attack until suddenly rallying in the fourth set. The Iranians scored seven of the last nine points in the fourth set to force a fifth set. Both sides raised the stakes with outstanding play in the final set.
Iran coach Julio Velasco said: “It is difficult to play against teams like the U.S. and Brazil. I often show my players examples of their play. The players showed belief in themselves today. That was very important. We blocked and counterattacked better in the fourth set. The bench players showed a great spirit and that is why we won. The players played with confidence because they had nothing to lose. I think it is important that a coach likes his players even if they are not the best. This gives them confidence.”
U.S. coach John Speraw added: “It is difficult to be on the other side today after getting the five-set victory yesterday. I think the first set was a key. We didn't attack from the frontcourt and the service line like we should have. They made some great substitutions in the fourth set with No. 11 and No. 13.”
Russia denied Brazil a chance to clinch the gold medal with a five-set (20-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-9) victory on Saturday in the next-to-last day of the 2013 FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup. The result left both teams with 3-1 records in what was a rematch of the 2012 Olympic final won by Russia in similar fashion. The match marked the first meeting ever between Brazil and Russia in the World Grand Champions Cup.
It was the 60th match overall between the countries, with Brazil leading 32-28 all time. The South Americans came into the match knowing that a 3-0 or 3-1 victory would clinch the gold for them and took the initiative from the outset. Dmitriy Ilinykh paced Russia with 21 points, while Dmitriy Muserskiy added 20. Wallace De Souza led Brazil with 21. Both sides featured huge serves throughout the match, but Russia persevered and prevailed in the end. After falling behind two sets, the Russians dug deep and went on the attack.
Russia coach Andrey Voronkov said: “This was a very important match for both teams. When we play Brazil, everybody pays attention. My players felt a lot of pressure and that was seen in the first half of the match. From the middle of the match our players put their thoughts and feelings together and were able to establish our own style of play. It was beautiful volleyball today. Though our players were nervous they were glowing afterward. We won because of our focus.”
Brazil coach Bernardo Rezende added: “They played a great second part of the match. They switched their system and did it well. Pavlov and Muserskiy came on in the third set and we could not control them. They made some good shots and it worked in the end. Strong teams come back from a loss and win. We have to come back and show we can play at a great level tomorrow against Italy.”
Italy downed Japan in straight sets (25-16, 25-21, and 25-21) at the World Grand Champions Cup on Saturday. The result gives Italy a 2-2 mark, while Japan remains winless at 0-4 heading into the final day of the competition. The match marked the third meeting ever in the World Grand Champions Cup between the nations and 31st overall. Japan entered with a 23-7 advantage in the series. Ivan Zaytsev was the top scorer for Italy with 13 points. Filippo Lanza and Jiri Kovar chipped in with 11 each. Yu Koshikawa had eight points for Japan in the loss. Italy excelled in all facets of the game in an impressive performance. Their defence was especially outstanding in the triumph. Japan appeared flat from the outset and could never muster much of a threat against the Italian attack.
Italy coach Mauro Berruto said: “I’m very happy. Our goal was to focus on the present and control what was in our hands. We had good side-out and reception. The level of volleyball in this tournament is very high. I'm proud of our young guys. We will fight to the last match for a medal.”
Japan coach Gary Sato commented: “We played hard. I thought we could have played smarter. When you play at this level, the margin for mistakes is small and adds up in a hurry. But this has been a good experience for us being exposed to the top four teams in the world. Tomorrow is our last chance against Iran. They are in our zone and could present a potential roadblock to getting to the Olympics. We have our work cut out for ourselves.”
Top Scorer by Day
21 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Japan on 19.11.13
17 – Mohammad Mousavi of Iran v Italy, Jiri Kovar of Italy v Iran, Matthew Anderson of USA v Brazil on 20.11.13
27 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Italy on 22.11.13
25 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Iran on 23.11.13
Top Scoring Performances
27 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Italy on 22.11.13
22 – Filippo Lanza of Italy v USA on 22.11.13
21 – Dmitriy Ilinykh of Russia v Brazil on 23.11.13
21 – Wallace De Souza of Brazil v Russia on 23.11.13
20 – Ivan Zaytsev of Italy v Russia on 19.11.13
20 – Dmitriy Muserskiy of Russia v Brazil on 23.11.13
19 – Wallace de Souza of Brazil v Iran on 19.11.13
19 – Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia v Iran on 22.11.13
Top Blocking Performances
8 – Maxwell Holt of USA v Japan on 19.11.13
8 – Mohammad Mousavi of Iran v Italy on 20.11.13
5 – Sidnei Dos Santos Jr. of Brazil v Iran on 19.11.13
5 – Emanuele Birarelli of Italy v Japan on 23.11.13
5 – Matteo Piano of Italy v USA on 22.11.13
4 – David Lee of USA v Japan on 19.11.13
4 – Andrey Ashchev of Russia v Brazil on 23.11.13
4 – Dmitriy Ilinykh of Russia v Brazil on 23.11.13
Top Serving Performances
5 – Farhad Ghaemi of Iran v Italy on 20.11.13
5 – Lucas Saatkamp of Brazil v Russia on 23.11.13
3 – Jiri Kovar of Italy v Iran on 20.11.13
3 – Thomas Beretta of Italy v USA on 22.11.13
3 – David Lee of USA v Italy on 22.11.13
3 – Dmitriy Muserskiy of Russia v Brazil on 23.11.13
Top Team-Blocking Performances
17 – USA v Japan on 19.11.13
15 – Russia v Japan on 20.11.13 and v Brazil on 23.11.13
14 – Iran v Italy on 20.11.13
12 – Brazil v Iran on 19.11.13
12 – Italy v Japan on 23.11.13
Top Team-Serving Performances
9 – Italy v Iran on 20.11.13
9 – Brazil v Russia on 23.11.13
8 – Iran v Italy on 20.11.13
7 – Russia v Brazil on 23.11.13
5 – USA v Brazil on 20.11.13
Highest Scoring Sets
31-29 Brazil v USA (1st set) on 20.11.13
28-26 Italy v Russia (1st set) on 19.11.13
28-26 USA v Italy (4th set) on 22.11.13
28-26 Iran v USA (1st set) on 23.11.13
Highest Scoring Matches
228 – Iran v USA 3-2 (28-26, 19-25, 19-25, 27-25, 18-16) on 23.11.13
220 – USA v Italy 3-2 (25-21, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-13) on 22.11.13
214 – Iran v Italy 3-2 (26-24, 16-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12) on 20.11.13
204 – Russia v Brazil 3-2 (20-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-9) on 23.11.13
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