TIJUANA & MEXICALI, August 24, 2007.- The four best boy's volleyball teams in the world meet across the net on Saturday, when the 2007 Youth World Championship resumes into the semifinals in Mexico. Action is guaranteed when France meets Iran, followed by China against Argentina to decide the candidates to contest the glorius gold medal in Sunday's final. The losers of each match will play for the bronze medal. In the 5th-8th semifinals to be played also on Saturday, Brazil face Belgium and Poland against India. Finally, the 9th-12th semifinals will be played in Mexicali with USA against Tunisia, Cuba will face Egypt, hosts Mexico against Russia and Puerto Rico face Germany.
China and Argentina meet for the second time in the 2007 Boy's Youth World Championship. China defeated the South American team 3-2 in an electrifyng clash during the first round in Tijuana. This second match should be a tight one when the two sides face each other in the semifinals. The young Argentine team has been constantly improving during the tournament and seems to have found true joy on the court after beating India, Brazil and Iran in the second round, while China has had a few problems in their matches, losing 3-0 against USA in the first round and against Poland 3-2 in the second. Despite these defeats, the Asian team, like the Chinese girls did two weeks ago, is still one of the major candidates for the World Title. All 12 players of coach Li Mu are capable of competing at the highest level, but Bian Hongmin, Kou Zhichao and setter Li Runming will certainly not make it easy for Argentina.
Meanwhile, the high-spirited Argentina side is enjoying increasing confidence and is definitely a team for the future. In the first round they beat USA and defending champion Russia, and despite their only loss against China, the boys of Juan Cichello are now capable of pulling off a victory against the fast Asian team. Argentina, fourth in the past Youth WCH 2005, will play their very first match for the gold medal if they success in winning China. Their more productive players are Facundo Conte, Rodrigo Ronda and Pablo Hruby, while the setter Nicolas Uriarte is the best of the tournament so far.
Regarding the other semifinal match, a clash of continental champions between France (Europe) and Iran (Asia), this two teams go into their decisive encounter on very equal footing and whoever advances to the final will be a worthy winner as both teams have, until now, perhaps even exceeded pre-tournament expectations. For France, the 2007 Boy's Youth World Championship is already a success as this is the first time ever that the "French Connection" has reached the semifinals of a World Championship tournament. Even if France finishes on the fourth position, the French fans can be satisfied. The French boys lost in the first round only to Germany in five sets, but beat Brazil 3-0, and in the second round lost to China 3-1, after defeating Poland 3-2 and Belgium. Iran lost to Cuba in the first round and in the second could not win India and Argentina, but won Brazil and qualified to the semifinal by ratio difference. Iran has to win to improve their 2003 ranking when they claimed the world championship bronze medal. The Asian squad also won a silver medal in the 2001 Youth edition.
After the second round, many players have ratified their skills as Indian Singh Mandeep, who is the best scorer of the tournament so far with a total of 120 points. The Iranian Ghiasi Motjaba is second with 112 points while the Argentine Facundo Conte is third with 108 points. Regarding the individual skills after the second round matches, Franco Lopez from Argentina is the best digger, the also Argentine Nicolas Uriarte is the best setter, Brazilian Mauricio Silva is the best receiver, Mateusz Jasinski from Poland is the best spiker, Alireza Jadidi from Iran is the best blocker and Cuban Roland Cepeda is the best server so far.