Osaka, Japan, September 16, 2015 – Italy added to Iran’s woes at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup Japan 2015
as they sent them packing in straight sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-21) as their second round began in perfect fashion in Osaka.
Italy may have had a higher error rate at 16-18, but it was on attack where they made the difference, scoring 51 on 30. At the centre of it all was Ivan Zaytsev, the uncompromising Italian earning 25 spikes and two aces to top the scores.
Iran coach Kovac Slobodan said he wanted to see an improvement in his side ahead of the match but that didn’t materialize as Italy surged into a quick lead thanks to some useful Lanza attacking. Two Zaytsev spikes took the Italians to 17-12 as the Iranian defence looked to struggle. A Zaytsev spike ended the set in Italy’s favour.
Iran got off to a better start in the second, but the Italians maintained their composure and took the lead at the first technical timeout 8-7. A dig immediately followed by a spike from Zaytsev took Italy further into the lead as Iran’s early promise in the set looked to wane as did their discipline with Slobodan receiving a yellow card. Neither team could build up a sizeable lead as the set remained tense. It was Italy who made the breakthrough at the crucial moment, and another Zaytsev spike followed by a hit from Osmany Juantorena gave the Italians a 2-0 lead.
The Italians, who had won four matches coming into their encounter with Iran, were hoping to wrap this up in three, and began well. Iran rallied and gained the lead for just the second time in the match at 8-5. A little bit of luck on the tape kept Iran ahead by two but their resurgence didn’t last with Italy earning the lead before Juantorena swung to take the match.