FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Poland set pace for last Pool A Final Six spot after second Iran victory

Rafal Buszek top scored for Poland with 16 points

Gdansk, Poland, July 5, 2014 – Poland repeated their Friday victory over Iran by beating the Asian champions in straight sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-17) in their last match of the Intercontinental Round of the 2014 FIVB World League in Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland on Saturday to set the pace in the race for the third and final World League Group 1 Finals spot from Pool A. Poland now sit third in the pool on 17 points, three ahead of Brazil who will play Italy in Milan on Sunday needing a 3-0 or 3-1 win to pip Poland for the Final Six spot.

Key Points

•    Brazil have a better win-loss set ratio than Poland, which is the following decider when teams are equal in points.

•    Poland and Iran have now played four times in the World League. Iran won the first two encounters at home last week with the same scoreline as this weekend’s results (3-1 and 3-0).

•    Iran qualified for the World League Finals for the first time in team history after their two victories against Poland last week.

The hosts started the match with a slightly different line-up than on Friday (Dawid Konarski replaced the injured Mariusz Wlazly and Rafal Buszek took Mateusz Mika's place, but once again boasted two liberos). They were highly concentrated from the beginning, since it was their last chance to qualify to the Final Six. They quickly took the lead at 9-5, then 12-6. Iran closed the gap at 17-15 at which point Poland coach Stephane Antiga called timeout. After the short break Poland scored four unanswered points, only to lose the advantage again. Following a brief discussion and a video verification, the referees decided to repeat one rally, later won by the Poles which was the turning point as they took the set 25-23.

The beginning of the second set was similar to the opening set with the hosts taking the lead at the first Technical Time Out (TTO), but Iran refused to let them get too far ahead (8-6, then 11-10). Nevertheless, Poland took control after the second TTO, gaining a six-point lead at 20-14 before romping to victory 25-20. They dominated especially from the service line, taking three points in this manner while Iran did not score any.

In the beginning of the third set Iran took the lead for the first time, but the hosts quickly regained focus and scored a series of unanswered points turning a 5-3 deficit into a 9-5 lead. They kept the advantage throughout the set before sealing it 25-17 and the match 3-0.

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