TIJUANA & MEXICALI, Mexico, August 25, 2007.- China and Iran swept to glory and the finals of the 2007 Boy's Youth Volleyball World Championship, when they dismissed Argentina and France in the two semifinal exciting matches on Saturday, at the Gimnasio de Usos Multiples in Tijuana. The Chinese team won their berth in straight sets, and Iran also managed a 3-0 upset over France, qualifying to a world final for the second time since Cairo 2001, when they lost the gold medal against Brazil. Both squads will play for the first place on Sunday at 20:00 h (local time).
The result already writes Volleyball history as neither team has ever won the World Title, but both have charged through the tournament with such skill and passion that it is difficult to speculate who might emerge victorious. Neither was mentioned as a pre-tournament favorite, even though it was clear to observers that they were both, since last year, improving rapidly. In this tournament, they have beat the Volleyball's traditional forces like Brazil and Russia with courage, and either would be a worthy winner on Sunday.
For the Chinese boys, it will be the first time to contest the final of a major youth world tournament. In their semifinal against the South American squad they scored 25-16, 27-25, 25-17 and the Asians won the first set easily, but let Argentina get closer in the second before controlling their efforts again in the third set. Spiker Kou Zhichao scored one of the last points with a kill service to catapult his team into the final, playing a perfect match and adding a massive 15 points to the Chinese total. The tall Argentine attacker Pablo Hruby was the best scorer of his team with 14 points.
Iran finished France 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 with some great points from the beginning of the encounter. Although the French boys resisted the power attacks of Alireza Jadidi, Mojtaba Ghiasi and the settings of captain Ashkan Derakhshan, it was the European Earwin Ngapeth the best scorer of the match with 20 points. Shaban Mojtaba made a major contribution to the Asian champion victory with 14 points and libero Golmohammad Sakhavi was a key player defending many French attacks in what was surely one of his best ever matches.
On Sunday, France and Argentina will play for the bronze medal and also Belgium, which surprisingly beat Brazil 3-2 (21-25, 30-28, 25-16, 17-25, 17-15) will contest for the fifth position with Poland, winner of India 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23). On the same day, Brazil and India will play their match for the seventh position, after their respective losses Tijuana.
In Mexicali venue, Russia dismissed Mexico 3-0 and will face Germany for the ninth place on Sunday. The Germans had it easy with Puerto Rico winning 3-1, while host Mexico will play again the Norceca champions for the 11th place. Also in Mexicali, Tunisia beat the USA and will face Cuba for the 13th place. The Cubans were stronger than the Africans 3-2, and this leads to a clash were USA and Egypt will play for the two last places of the tournament.