Hiroshima, Japan, September 8, 2015 – Hosts Japan needed five sets to beat Egypt on the opening day of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup 2015 in Hiroshima, while Argentina stunned Iran in Hasamatsu as the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament began.
Italy, USA, Poland and Russia all also registered wins on the first day of the tournament, which will see the top two sides earn a berth for next year’s Olympics.
Japan had difficulty overcoming Egypt in five sets (25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 17-25, 15-7) as they began their World Cup campaign in Hiroshima. Yuki Ishikawa was key in attack for the hosts as he scored 24 points. However, questions were asked of the world No.20’s serve defence, with Egypt scoring 10 aces in total.
The Argentines began the day in in Hamamatsu with a huge upset, taking a thrilling four set (27-25, 22-25, 25-22, 26-24) win over Iran with Facundo Conte the star of the show. His 22 kills and three service aces helped power his team to a vital win over one of the pre-tournament favourites. It also saw the 26-year-old end the day as the highest scorer of the tournament on 26 points as coach Julio Velasco helped guide his side to a win over the team he used to train.
Italy claimed an opening 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-13) win over Canada, although were given a scare in the third set allowing their North American rivals back into the game. Italian duo Ivan Zaytsev and Osmany Juantorena led the attack, scoring 20 and 15 points respectively to drag their country back into the game after a setback in the third set.
FIVB Volleyball World League 2015 bronze medallists USA gave Australia a real test of their serve defence with five of the Americans taking at least one ace in the match. It was Aaron Russell who led proceedings however, taking three serve points and 14 in total. Matt Anderson top scored with 17 points. Coach John Speraw highlighted the performance of most impressive player Micah Christenson in the press conference following the match adding that he has “a lot of responsibility with the offense with distribution”.
Russia then proved how strong their offense can be with a straight sets (27-25, 25-16, 25-15) win over Venezuela. Maxim Mikhaylov and Dmitriy Ilinykh were the standout performers for the Russians, with 12 points apiece. But the opening set was far from easy, with the Central American side nearly ousting the world No.2.
It was an easy win for Poland over Tunisia in the final match of the day, with the world champions strolling through the first two sets. Rafal Buszek, Bartosz Kurek and Mateusz Mika combined to score 16 points from the serve line and at the net in the two opening frames. Tunisia regained the lead at 8-7 in the third, but their European rivals tightened their block to hold on for the win.
Top Scorer by Day
26 – Facundo Conte of Argentina v Iran on September 8
Top Individual Serving Performances
5 – Ahmed Abdelhay of Egypt v Japan on September 8
3 – Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia v Venezuela on September 8
3 – Aaron Russell of USA v Australia on September 8
3 – Facundo Conte of Argentina v Iran on September 8
3 – Milad Ghara of Iran v Argentina on September 8
3 – Abdallah Bekhit of Egypt v Japan on September 8
Top Team Serving Performances
10 – USA v Australia on September 8
10 – Egypt v Japan on September 8
8 – Russia v Venezuela on September 8
8 – Poland v Tunisia on September 8
Top Individual Blocking Performances
8 – Sebastien Sole of Argentina v Iran on September 8
Top Team Blocking Performances
15 – Argentina v Iran on September 8
Highest Scoring Sets
29-27 Russia v Venezuela (1st set) on September 8
Highest Scoring Matches
199 – Japan d Egypt 3-2 (25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 17-25, 15-7) on September 8