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NEWS

Two qualify for U21 World Championship at Asian U20s

 
Iran remained one of the favourites to take the Asian U20 Men's Championship as they easily beat Thailand in their quarterfinal battle
 
Manama, Bahrain, October 24, 2014 – Hosts Bahrain booked their place in the final four of the Asian U20 Men’s Championship in front of their home fans on Thursday but defending champions Japan will play no further part in the tournament after being stunned by Korea.

Iran and China join Bahrain and Korea in tomorrow’s semifinals with the former having booked their place in next year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championships.

Iran d Thailand 3-0 (25-21, 25-7, 25-19)
Iran continued to impress in Bahrain, with another clinical display this time over Thailand in the first quarterfinal.

Iran coach Nafarzadeh Farhad said he expects his team to improve further as they look ahead to a semifinal.

“Thailand is a very good team, they play with a combination system which is very difficult for us,” he said. “I am happy because our players played with best concentration and played some very good volleyball.

“Our planning is for three matches. I hope we can be better for semi-final and for final we must be top level.”

Thailand manager Suppakorn Jitreekhun said his team were outplayed.

“I think Iran had an advantage over our team everywhere,” he said. “They were strong, big guys. When my team stood on the court, they look like students.

“I think Iran is equal with China and Japan. It will all depend on timing and opportunity.”

Korea d Japan 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-19)
Korea pulled off the first major upset of the tournament, by sending top seeds Japan crashing out of the tournament. The defending champions were chasing a third consecutive U20 title and had cruised through its pool group without dropping a set.

“Our players showed great spirit,” he said. “We know the Japanese left wings are very strong, and our leaders played very well. We also used our tallest setter to defend the Japanese attacks. That helped us win today.

“In all matches between Korea and Japan, we have a spirit that we have to win. This kind of strong spirit helped us today.”

Captain Donggeun Jeong contributed 18 points for his team and admits they were viewed as the underdog.

“We have trained for a month, and today’s match was the most important match,” he said. “The Japanese team is slightly stronger than us, but we have a very strong spirit against Japan.”

Japanese coach Shingo Sakai was understandably disappointed his team threw away leads in the first two sets.

“They had very high concentration,” he said. “Today’s match was very tough. Korea had a good defence, and was aggressive on their spikes.

“We had our chances but we didn’t get them. It was disappointing that our team wasn’t strong mentally.”

China d Qatar 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23)
The eagerly awaited clash between China and Qatar did not disappoint with the latter taking the fight to the highly fancied Chinese team.

China had not lost a set in the pool rounds, while Qatar had shown steady improvement since losing their opening match to Iran 3-1.

The defence of both teams was outstanding, with Qatar pulling off 14 blocks to China’s 10.

Qatar looked a little overawed in the opening set, allowing China to dictate terms.

The difference between the two came down to experience and a powerful Chinese serve. Runtao Xia picked up six aces to help his team to eight overall.

Chinese coach Genyin Ju said his young outfit was below its best, but praised his opponents.

“A number of our players, our number one and number 11, did not give a good performance,” he said. “It was not a surprise how well Qatar played. We met in Doha seven days ago, and we won 3-1, and they have improved.

“I’m not satisfied with the way a number of my players are playing at the moment.”

Qatar were playing community volleyball in a competition which included a team made up of taxi drivers just 18 months, so their improvement has been outstanding according to their coach.

“Everyone was shaking, everyone was scared, and teams like China and Iran were in the World Championships already,” coach Sattler Tine said. “But that is the great opportunity for us, to get that experience. We must calm down now and grab this chance to finish fifth.”

Tine said he told his players that even though on paper China was stronger, Qatar could match them.

“My players, I told them to wait for their moment, that we have the quality to play with them and maybe beat them,” he said. “The matter was if we could keep that quality for a long period. I think we fell a little short.”

Bahrain d Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-27, 25-19, 25-17, 25-21)
Bahrain booked their ticket to the U21 World Championship after beating Chinese Taipei 3-1 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

Bahrain capitalized on a high error count by Chinese Taipei, and powerful spiking by Mohamed Anan.

It’s been a dream run for Bahrain who also came through the pool stage undefeated.

Coach Ali Ridha said his team’s goal was always to finish top four.

“We played this game very well,” he said. “We had a good blocker and good serve receive. Our opposite, Mohamed Anan, he played very well, and we made many blocks.

“We kept telling ourselves, we have a chance, we have a chance, and we were able to beat them.”

Coach Ridha says it will be difficult for his team to beat one of the favourites, Iran, in the semifinal but his team will play positive.
 
Saudi Arabia d Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-20)
Saudi Arabia struggled to find a foothold against Turkmenistan as they went down meekly in three sets.

“It was very bad, we can’t play together good,” Turkmenistan’s Usmanbek Kalandarov said. “Saudi Arabia is not such a strong team, but we lose to them. We could not concentrate.

“Everybody is very sad about this match. We should have won but we lose.

“Nobody is ready for another match but we will try our best, probably against Uzbekistan.”

India d Uzbekistan 3-0 (27-25, 25-20, 25-10)
Despite an opening set which saw them make many errors India scrapped for every point to seal a straight sets win over Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan was hampered by 31 errors.

Kazakhstan d New Zealand 3-2 (25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 23-25, 15-12)
Five set matches have been a rarity at these U20 Asian Championships but the clash between Kazakhstan and New Zealand delivered was a thrilling encounter for the fans.

Two teams considered minnows on the world volleyball stage, both looking to make a mark in Bahrain, came together in a bottom eight clash.

After three tough games to open the competition, New Zealand came into the game after three days’ rest.

This could have been the reason for the slow start as they went down in the opening two sets.

But they fought back in the third to win their first set of the tournament and added to it in the fourth to send the match to a tie-break.

In the end it was that match-winning experience which saw Kazakhstan win 15-12 in the fifth.

Sri Lanka d Maldives 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-22)
Pride was certainly on the line when these two neighbors came together in a bottom eight clash.

Maldives has had a tough Championship, but always knew it would be hard, while Sri Lanka won its opener against New Zealand and pushed Korea and China in its pool matches.

It was the best result for Maldives at the tournament so far, but Sri Lanka were worthy winners 3-0.




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