FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Velasco eyes first Iran win in Tehran

Iran coach Julio Velasco has led Iran to the World League qualification for the first time. Now he hopes to record Iran's first World League win against Serbia.

Tehran, Iran, June 20, 2013 – Coach of World League debutants Iran, Julio Velasco said “it is an honour” to be playing in the World League for the first time.

The coaching legend told media on the eve of his side’s opening World League match at home where they will take on Serbia in a Pool B clash in Tehran on Friday (12:30 GMT) and Sunday (12:30 GMT).

“It is our honour we are in the World League for the first time,” Velasco, who has previously coached Italy to five World League titles, said. “We are in a strong pool, and we will learn from our matches against powerful teams. Last week we played against the champion of the London Olympic Games Russia. Now we are going to play against the champion of Europe.

“Serbia volleyball is a good role model for our sport. We will learn from Serbia. This year Serbia team has new players in its combination; they are a big talent in volleyball.

“To predict the result of the match is not easy. Our team never enters to the play to lose but I am not saying anything about the result prior the match. I should say we are ready to fight. We will do our best.

“Iran Volleyball, its fans and federation should be proud of its players. They will do their best on the court. By having the goal to win, you can gain experience, while stepping on to the court without a will to win, you cannot gain experience. I promise hard work, playing to win and learning while playing.”

Meanwhile, Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic said his side is looking to bounce back from their two defeats to Russia last week, which followed two opening wins in Cuba. “I am happy for playing Iran. We will play against the best team of Iran, and our matches would be tough. We respect Iran, since Velasco is one of the best coaches in the world. Last year we played some matches. We won some sets and we lost some others. We will have a tough match on Friday. We will do our best during the matches to ensure we obtain our goal of going to Argentina.”

Iran will play their first two World League home matches ever, when they meet Serbia. The countries have played each other twice, when Iran came from behind to beat Serbia 3-2 in the 2011 World Cup in Tokyo, and Serbia won 3-0 in the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament in Nagoya. By sweeping Iran, Serbia would equal their second best ever start since competing as an independent country. They also won four of their first six in 2012, one win shy of their record from 2010.

Following this weekend’s matches, Iran will go on to play Italy and Cuba away before returning home to host Germany.

The top two teams from Pool B will qualify for the World League Finals in Argentina.

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