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Kovac says Mahmoudi made the difference in victory over Japan

 
Osaka, Japan, September 18, 2015 - Iran coach Slobodan Kovac said simple errors saw them lose the first two sets against Japan before they rallied to seal a five set win in the final match of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup 2015 in Osaka on Friday.

Iran coach Slobodan Kovac: "In the first two sets we played good volleyball but we made some easy mistakes. We served good but we could not stop ball in the middle. It was tough to play Japan after losing four matches in a row. No. 1 (Mahmoudi) came in and played opposite for us because No. 10 (Ghafour) had a shoulder injury. We were a different team with No. 1 on the court. We play fast with him. We pushed Ishikawa, Yanagida and Shimizu to the sides to block them out. It is tough to play high level every match. We had a good counterattack in the last two sets. They made many mistakes after the first two sets."

Japan coach Masashi Nambu: "We did well in the beginning. Iran's jump float serve destroyed our strategy. Our play fell apart. This would be a big problem against strong teams, but today it should not have been. They did a great job n defense. We have to figure out a strategy that works in the tough situations with our serve reception. Our pipe attack did not work. The Iran players were quick on the side attack. We should have stopped them by receiving serves better. Our attack pattern was not creative and they figured out what was coming."

Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani: "It was a tough match. They had five wins and we had lost four in a row. It was hard to play with confidence. We started to play our volleyball in the third set. We kept our concentration. Now we must focus on the next matches. We had nothing to lose today. They made errors in serve and let us back in the match. We talked as a team after the second set. Japan has improved in the last three years. We are both big teams in Asia. If we play our game I think we can beat any team in Asia."

Japan captain Kunihiro Shimizu: "We could not defend well on the sideouts. They had many blocks. Iran is getting stronger than they were two or three years ago, but so are we. We didn't know who would win today until the very end. A few years ago we would have lost this kind of match in three sets. We have to analyze the data and see where we can improve."

Japan player Yuki Ishikawa: "I could not keep the promise I made yesterday about playing against Iran. We hope to straighten out our problems before the next matches."

Japan player Masahiro Yanagida: "We did well in the first two sets, but not in the third, fourth and fifth. We could not play our match. We did not do well on sideouts."

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