FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Heroic Iran take Russia to five sets

Artem Volvich spikes as Russia overcome Iran

Florence, Italy, July 16, 2014 – Russia beat Iran 3-2 (18-25, 25-18, 25-21, 35-37, 15-8) in an exciting opening match of the 2014 World League tournament. 


•    Russia have won all three of their clashes with Iran, but have never before been taken to three sets by them.

•    Iran have won only three of eight matches that have gone to five sets

•    Iran have now lost three World League matches in a row 

•    Russia have now won eight matches in nine, six in straight sets

•    This was Russia’s first win in five sets this season. They had lost their last four five setters in a row

The first set started very evenly, with both sides trading points in front of a large number of excitable Iranian supporters. Iran pulled narrowly ahead to 13-10 after some good blocking and a number of Russian errors. The game remained tight up to 15-13, with some brilliant rallies, but then Iran, brilliantly co-ordinated by setter Saeid Marouflakrani, clinched the set 25-18, with spiking and serving from Amir Ghafour particularly influential.

Ghafour and Marouflakrani continued to play well through set two, but Russia finally seemed to come alive, with Dmitriy Muserskiy serving and spiking strongly. The sides tied on 8-8, but Russia crept into a 17-13 lead, with Muserskiy and Nikolay Pavlov scoring well. With Sergey Savin also weighing in with some crucial points, Russia won the set 25-18 to make it 1-1.

The third set was also evenly balanced, with Artem Volvich of Russia and Adel Gholami of Iran coming into the match with some fine attacking play. They tied on 9-9 and 14-14, but Russia’s quality began to show. Muserskiy, Savin, Volvich and Alexey Spiridonov all spiked aggressively as they took the set 25-21 to go 2-1 up. 

Once again, in set four the Iranians proved that they could compete with the World League holders. They kept the score tight, with Russia narrowly leading, but Eraghi Mousavi, Ghafour and Gholami spiked strongly and edged the Iranians 16-15 ahead. And the two sides simply could not be separated, as they went blow-for-blow up to 35-35. Ghafour scored an incredible 14 points in the set while Pavlov, Muserskiy and Spiridonov hit heavily for Russia. Iran eventually got two points ahead to win 37-35 and force a fifth set.

Russia seemed stunned and Iran led 5-1 in the deciding fifth set. Both sides were making mistakes though, and Russia restored composure and levelled at 5-5. Iranian mistakes then helped Russia get 10-7 ahead. And Spiridonov in particular spiked aggressively as Russia’s class finally started to show. They won the set 15-8.

Ghafour was top scorer with 30 points for Iran while Muserskiy got 20 points for Russia.

Russia face Brazil in their next match on Thursday at 17:30, while Iran meet the Brazilians on Friday at 17:30.

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