Iran start 2019 Volleyball Nations League on high

May 31, 2019 - 16:23

TEHRAN – Iran beat Italy 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23) in Pool 1 of the men’s 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League week 1 at the Jiangmen Sports Center Gym in Jiangmen, China on Friday.

Amir Ghafour scored 20 points for Iran, while Gabriele Nelli was Italy’s top scorer with the same points.

Iran, Italy, Germany and hosts China are in Pool 1 and try to book their place at the final six tournament in Chicago.

Igor Kolakovic’s men will play China on Saturday and meet Germany on Sunday.

Interestingly, three of the four teams finished the 2018 preliminary round practically “holding hands” in the final standings.

 Italy finished eighth with eight wins, followed by Germany and Iran in ninth and tenth, respectively, with seven wins each. All of them missed out on advancing to the finals in Lille, but showed their potential to succeed in an intensive competition.

Iran are certainly keen on performing at a higher level than last year and producing better results than their 10th place in the 2018 VNL and 13th place at the World Championship.

 Experienced players like Mir Saeid Marouf, Amir Ghafour, Mohammad Mousavi and Farhad Ghaemi, have been training hard alongside a fresh flow of young athletes at the national team preparation camp, with more star volleyballers expected to join as their club season duties come to an end.

The competition will be held between May and July 2019 and the final round will take place in the Credit Union 1 Arena, Chicago, United States.

 This is the first edition of the World League or the Nations League to have the Final Round hosted in North America.

The 16 teams compete in a round-robin format with every core team hosting a pool at least once. The teams are divided into four pools of four teams at each week and compete five weeks long, for 120 matches. The top five teams after the preliminary round join the hosts of the final round to compete in the final round.

The relegation takes into consideration only the four challenger teams. The last ranked challenger team will be excluded from the 2020 Nations League. The winners of the Challenger Cup will qualify for the next edition as a challenger team.

The six qualified teams play in 2 pools of 3 teams in round-robin. The top two teams of each pool qualify for the semifinals. The pool winners play against the runners-up in this round. The semifinals winners advance to compete for the Nations League title. The losers face each other in the third place match.

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