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Bydgoszcz, Poland, September 12, 2014 – Iranian opposite Amir Ghafour wreaked havoc on the Argentine blockers as he powered his team with a 17-point performance to secure their second victory in straight sets (25-15, 25-23, 25-16) in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship at the Luczniczka Hall on Thursday.

Key Points

• Iran will now travel to Lodz to continue Pool E play.

• Iran’s skills and courage will be tested when they face hosts Poland in Lodz on Saturday, September 13.

• Amir Ghafour top scored with 17 points, while team-mates Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi and M. Mojtaba Mirzajanpour charted 16 and 14 points, respectively.

• Iran outscored Argentina in attacks 51-33, blocks 11-5, service aces 4-2.

Iran made a solid display in the first set as they cruised to an 8-3 lead at the first technical timeout. The Iranian led 18-11 then coach Slobodan Kovac decided to give his star setter Mir Saied Marouflakrani and middle blocker Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi some relief from the tough plays with the Argentine side.

Mehdi Mahdavi and Armin Tashakori came in the match but the impact was not as strong as Seyed and Marouf’s presence. Nonetheless, the Iranians still finished with a commanding lead in the first set 25-15.

Iran took command of the first technical timeout of the second set 8-6 but a tight point-by-point exchange ensued until the second technical timeout, where Argentina finally took the advantage. Argentina scored two more points that forced Kovac to call a timeout at 18-15. Argentina led 21-19, when Seyed took matters to his own hands on offence and defence to fuel a comeback and the eventual win for Iran 25-23.

Iran dictated the pace in the third set with an 8-2 and 16-10 leads at the technical breaks. Argentina defenders made a good effort to put the ball back in play that saw Luciano De Cecco with a solo block to cut down the Iranian advantage 18-14. Iran kept a firm grip of their advantage and steadily closed the set 25-15.

Press Conference:

Iran coach Slobodan Kovac: “We played very good today. My players were motivated to win because Julio Velasco has been their coach for the last three years. I tried to continue his work. I really appreciate the way my team played in service and counter-attacks. I have noticed the difference between the last two matches, as we were too sure against Australia. Today we changed our attitude towards our opponent and my team played definitely better. The result says everything – we won 3-0".

“When it comes to the next match against Poland, I think that on the stands, our fans will be outnumbered by the Polish fans. There are many Iranian volleyball fans from all over the world who support us, but this time we will not have as much as we want when we play the hosts. On the court, we will do our best to win against Poland”.

Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani: “It was a nice match, we have shown very good service today, our best so far in the tournament as we earned a lot of points from it. I hope we can continue on the same level against Poland and Serbia”.

Argentina coach Julio Velasco: “I think the match today against Iran was played in top level. They really have the chances to go really far in the tournament. Their tactical service posed many difficulties for us. Their attackers were also better in the block, keeping a balance between all the elements of the play. Since I left this team, the players have developed as individuals and as a team. That is why they made it to this stage. I think they are at this stage that they have become a very good team that even on their worse day, they can still play well. I think the last two matches can teach us something. We have to open our mind so we can learn a lesson from them”.

Argentina captain Javier Filardi: “It was a very bad day for our team although we tried to play better than yesterday. Iran proved to be better today.”

Bydgoszcz Pool E

Wed - 11.30 Argentina v France 1-3 (Info)

Thu - 11.30 Argentina v Iran 0-3 (Info)

Sat - 11.30 Argentina v Italy

Sun - 11.30 - Argentina v USA