FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Iran captain after win vs Italy: We can be among the world's top teams

Team Iran is much improved under coach Julio Velasco

Kyoto, Japan, November 20, 2013 - On day two of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, Iran pulled off a tough five set win against a young Italian squad. Iran has improved much under coach Julio Velasco, and their captain feels that they can eventually be among the top teams in the world. This was Iran’s second win over Italy in their six total head-to-head matches.

Iran coach Julio Velasco: We are very happy because we beat Italy, and they are always one of the best teams. In the second and third, their block caused many problems for us. This time we could continue to play and adjust, and resolve problems. In service and reception our team was better. We received their strong service well and that made a difference at the end of the match.

On why Ghafour went to the bench: He injured his ankle.

Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani: We played twice in Italy and had wonderful matches. These two teams know each other well. I think today the key of the game was the end of third set when they were three points up and came back with good service. After that we started to play well. We had a tough match with Brazil so it was tough getting ready today. And they won 3–1 yesterday against Russia, so it was a tough match, but a good one for us. We are very happy no. 

On their improvement: I think the last three years Iran volleyball has started to change with Mr. Velasco. We won many games in Asia including the Asian Championships this year and two years ago. There are many strong teams in Europe and the world. I think we can be among the high level teams in the world.

Italy coach Mauro Berruto: Most importantly I have to congratulate the team from Iran. We knew them well having played two matches in the World League in June and July. It’s always a fight like tonight, so we respect them a lot. It’s always extremely difficult. I have to say I admire them, the way the play. They wish to show their best, and we have to learn from this kind of attitude. The meaning of this tournament for us is to give this kind of experience to our young players. I was joking with my assistant about the fact that our captain is just 24 years old.

I regret just two moments in this match… the beginning of the first set where we had an awful side-out moment, and then in the third where we left an advantage on the court. Now we move on and will think about Tokyo’s matches.

On rotation of starters: The way we want to play in this tournament is that I want to see all my players on the court here, and I think this is the perfect tournament to do this. This is nothing about yesterday or tomorrow – we play day by day with a plan, and I want to get as much information as I can by watching them play on the court.

Italy captain Emanuele Birarelli: We knew it could be tough for us today because Iran is a good team and I know volleyball is a team game. But today I’m feeling a little guilty for the third set, I had two easy errors on the attack in an easy situation in important moments of the match. I’m the oldest player on this team, and it’s not good for me to do this. We’ll try to improve our play for the next match because this was a bad game for us.

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