FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Japan

Press release

Iran edge China in thrilling five-setter in Tokyo

Spiker Zarini Hamzeh for Iran in action against China

Tokyo, June 2, 2012 – Iran edged China 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 29-31, 25-15, 15-13) in a thrilling match in the FIVB Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday. 

The match lasted two hours and nine minutes.

Hamzeh Zarini led Iran with 27 points, while China’s top scorer was Bian Hongmin with 16. China outblocked Iran 14-4, but Iran outserved their opponents 12-3.
Iran started off the match very focused, with Hamzeh Zarini pulverizing the ball in the opening stages as the Asian champions opened a three-point lead at the first technical timeout. But Iran were also making errors and China were able to close from 9-13 to 13-13, with Liang Chunlong doing some good defensive work at the net. From there, it was close all the way and there wasn’t more than a point in it from 16-15 (Iran) to 22-22. Chen Ping then came up with two crunching hits to give China two setpoints. Iran saved one with a massive thump by Amir Ghafour, but Zhang Chen did enough to push a spike through the Iran defence and earn China the first set. 

China coach Zhou Jianan took his players off court after just three points of the second set – none of which they had won – as a confident Iran cruised into a five-point lead at the first TTO. Zhong Weijun added a couple of huge kills to keep China in the set, but Iran maintained a narrow lead through the second TTO with captain Nadi Alireza and Zarini leading their team. But China kept the pressure on. Bian Hongmin came up with a strong spike and a huge block on Mohammed Mousavi and Iran coach Julio Velasco called a timeout when China closed to within a point at 18-17. Zarini gave Iran some breathing space with two good hits, the second of which opened up a four-point gap at 21-17. A netted serve by Li Runming brought up setpoint at 24-20 and Reza Ghara brought the set scores level with an unchallenged kill.

The match stayed close in the 33-minute third set, with no more than two points in it in the opening phase. A massive blow by Ghara put Iran 15-12 ahead, but two super blocks – by Zhong on Ghara and Li on Farhad Ghaemi – brought the scores level at 15-15. Zarini helped his team into a two-point lead at 18-16 with two more big kills, but China were fighting hard and the scores were level again at 21-21, 22-22 and 23-23. Zarini delivered a massive blow down the middle to bring up setpoint, but Yuan Shi responded with a slick spike. Mousavi planted a big hit down the middle; Yuan responded with another cracking kill. Then China had the advantage. They failed on four straight setpoints before Zhang found space down the middle with a thumping drive that gave China a 2-1 advantage. 

Excellent work by Ghaemi gave Iran the early edge in the fourth set and they were three points ahead at the first TTO. A thunderous spell of serving by Amir Ghafour then helped put Iran in the driving seat as they moved from 10-8 to 15-8. A less spectacular serve by Mousavi that hit the net cord and trickled over brought up setpoint at 24-13 and Zarini brought the teams level at 2-2 with a spike.

There was nothing between the two teams in the opening phase of the deciding set. The first team to open up a two-point gap was Iran at 9-7 on a spike down the right line by Ghafour. Ghaemi followed that up with a brutal serve that China couldn’t return. China clawed two points back before Mir Saeid Marouflakrani set up another Iran point with a fantastic dig. At 13-10, Ping Chen thumped a huge hit through the Iran defence and Ghafour then shot wide to put China within a point at 13-12. Velasco called a timeout and Zarini brought up matchpoint with a classy kill. An Iran block went wide, giving China hope, but Ghaemi finished things off with a drive through the China block. 

After two rest days Iran will face Australia and China Serbia

Download highresolution

| More

More press releases

10.06.2012 14:58:01
We deserve to be in the Olympics: Iran captain

10.06.2012 14:40:21
Serbia and Australia ready for the 2012 London Olympic Games

10.06.2012 14:09:34
Iran edge Japan in three thrilling sets in Tokyo

10.06.2012 11:47:47
We're not at this level right now: Puerto Rico captain

10.06.2012 11:19:39
Korea deny Puerto Rico with five-set win in Tokyo

10.06.2012 09:01:39
We were dogs out there today: Australia captain

10.06.2012 07:51:33
Australia rout China to book Olympic ticket

10.06.2012 05:53:25
We have to improve if we want an Olympic medal: Kolakovic

10.06.2012 05:23:02
Serbia finish Olympic qualification with perfect record

09.06.2012 15:32:10
Serbia clinch ticket to 2012 London Olympic Games

09.06.2012 15:08:33
Puerto Rico played really aggressively: Japan's Fukuzawa

09.06.2012 14:23:13
Japan outlast brave Puerto Rico in four sets

09.06.2012 11:27:36
Our Olympic dream is still alive: Australia captain

09.06.2012 11:05:41
Australia down Korea in four sets in Olympic qualifiers

09.06.2012 09:08:09
Venezuela have great potential: China coach

09.06.2012 08:39:40
China overcome Venezuela in four sets in Olympic qualfier

09.06.2012 06:24:38
I'm happy we managed our goal: Kolakovic

09.06.2012 05:49:20
Serbia qualify for London with close win over Iran

08.06.2012 03:55:34
Volleyball character Vabo Chan celebrates 35 years on duty

07.06.2012 14:54:12
WOQT - Serbia stands out in fifth day of action

07.06.2012 14:40:21
Ueta says Japan players all focused in crucial victory over Australia

07.06.2012 13:54:46
Japan roar past Australia in straight sets

07.06.2012 11:42:27
Korea coach credits play of Park, Kim for victory over China

07.06.2012 11:23:10
Korea outlast China in five-set thriller

07.06.2012 08:23:28
Serbia's Janic says victory put team one step closer to London

07.06.2012 07:50:50
Serbia put away Puerto Rico in straight sets

07.06.2012 05:56:36
Venezuela coach Garcia says "big difference" in level between his team and Iran

07.06.2012 05:25:09
Iran move to 4-1 with straight sets win over Venezuela

06.06.2012 16:38:55
Australian setter Peacock warmed up in cold climate

06.06.2012 15:29:49
Serbia stand alone at top in Tokyo

06.06.2012 15:08:27
China coach Zhou says players bounced back well from loss to Serbia

06.06.2012 14:23:02
China post four-set victory over Japan

06.06.2012 11:00:17
Venezuela's Pinerua cites Korea's speed as reason for defeat

06.06.2012 10:36:18
Korea notch first win with straight sets triumph over Venezuela

06.06.2012 08:23:14
Serbia's Kovacevic says team played "perfect game" in win over Australia

06.06.2012 07:57:56
Serbia rout Australia in straight sets to move to 4-0

06.06.2012 06:39:59
Iran coach Velasco says players had tough time after loss to Australia

06.06.2012 06:09:06
Iran need four sets to put away Puerto Rico

05.06.2012 15:23:05
Australia and Serbia remain unbeaten in Olympic Qualification

05.06.2012 15:18:30
Japan's Ueta credits defense, technical skill in final set for win

05.06.2012 14:46:28
Japan battle past Korea in five-set thriller

05.06.2012 10:57:12
China captain Cui says flow went all Serbia's way in loss

05.06.2012 10:25:34
Serbia go to 3-0 with straight sets win over China

05.06.2012 08:51:50
Iran's Velasco blames mistakes in second set for loss to Australia

05.06.2012 08:29:58
Australia roar back to down Iran, keep slate clean

05.06.2012 06:08:22
Venezuela coach Garcia says team executed tactical play well in victory

05.06.2012 05:30:09
Venezuela rout Puerto Rico for first victory

04.06.2012 04:44:08
Kovacevic brothers - London is our destiny

03.06.2012 04:24:55
Argentina well represented on the coaches bench

02.06.2012 15:16:36
Thrilling second day of action as Australia and Serbia go top

02.06.2012 14:54:44
We put on a good performance today: Japan's Fukuzawa

02.06.2012 14:09:14
Japan earn first win with close encounter against Venezuela

02.06.2012 11:38:49
Our inexperience cost us today: Korea coach

02.06.2012 11:18:57
Serbia defeat Korea 3-1 in Olympic qualifier

02.06.2012 10:11:56
We knew China would be tough: Velasco

02.06.2012 06:04:24
Today was a good day: Australia coach

02.06.2012 05:30:26
Australia cruise past Puerto Rico in Olympic qualifying

01.06.2012 14:43:49
Four straight wins on opening day of Olympic qualifier

01.06.2012 14:24:40
Serbia coach Kolakovic happy with victory over host nation Japan

01.06.2012 13:47:51
Serbia displays strong attack in straight sets victory over Japan

01.06.2012 10:59:21
Iran coach Velasco pleased with opening victory over Korea

01.06.2012 10:32:44
Iran scores comprehensive straight sets win over Korea

01.06.2012 08:40:50
Puerto Rico's Rivera says China dominated in victory

01.06.2012 08:00:59
China roll past Puerto Rico to straight sets win

01.06.2012 06:07:08
Australia coach Uriarte pleased with opening victory

01.06.2012 05:27:59
Thomas powers Australia in straight sets win over Venezuela

31.05.2012 15:02:15
Coaches vow to fight hard for Olympic berths

31.05.2012 12:46:30
Eight teams ready to battle for final Olympic berths

24.05.2012 12:07:04
Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament schedule confirmed