Boys' U19 World Championship 2023 - News.

Iran (IRI) vs. Colombia (COL) - Pool C #6259622

Iran’s Morteza Narimani in offence

With one competition day in the pool stage of the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship remaining, all 16 eighthfinalists have now emerged. Bulgaria, Egypt, Japan, Mexico, Serbia and Slovenia booked the remaining six vacancies on Saturday, while the teams of Chile, Costa Rica and India will continue in the matches for the distribution of the places from 17th to 19th in the final standings.

Iran, the world’s number two U19 team, added yet another straight-set victory to their winning streak and topped the final Pool C standings on an impeccable record, without a single set lost. On Saturday, they mastered a shutout of Colombia to finish the pool stage on a 4-0 win-loss record and 12-0 in sets (an awarded win against withdrawn Nigeria included).

Iran clearly dominated on the court for most of the duration of the game against Colombia and outplayed the opponents on all point-scoring counts: 37 to 25 in successful spikes, 13 to nine in kill blocks, five to one in serving aces and 16 to 20 in unforced errors.

Their outside hitter Morteza Narimani delivered the match high of 17 points, including a block and as many as four aces. His teammate Abolfazi Mahdian added another 15 points, including three blocks, while middle Armin Ghelichniazi impressed with five kill blocks towards a seven-point tally. Sub-in Matin Hosseini Tolouti hammered the match winner. Outside Juan Felipe Velasco Valderruten was Colombia’s top scorer with 11 points to his name.

Korea finished pool runners-up on a 3-1 win-loss record, while Colombia and Puerto Rico, on 1-2 each, will go head to head on Sunday in a battle for the third place in the pool.

Argentina (ARG) vs. USA (USA) - Pool A #6264345

USA’s Finn Kearney attacks

With a game to play in Pool A, United States are also on a perfect record of three wins and 9-0 in sets. On Saturday, they produced a shutout of the other unbeaten team in the pool, hosts Argentina, to take over the top of the table. Sterling Foley and captain Sean Kelly led the way with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Meanwhile, Egypt hammered out a sweep of their game against Costa Rica, securing both theirs and Serbia’s advancement to the eighthfinals and leaving the Central Americans bottom of the table on four losses and without a set won. Egypt’s middle Ibrahim Abdelmaksood raised five kill blocks and fired two aces towards a match-high 18 points. Opposite Shrief Helawy added another 15 points towards the team’s second win of the tournament. In their last pool match on Sunday, Egypt (2-1) will take on Argentina (2-1), hoping to claim the second place in the final standings.

The world’s highest ranked team, Bulgaria, recovered from Thursday’s loss to France with a hard-fought victory over Japan to stamp their ticket to the eighthfinals. Japan’s Tomorou Fujiyama was the best scorer of the match with 28 points, while Kristian Titriyski contributed 26 for the winners. In the other Pool B game on Saturday, Slovenia claimed a win over India on a 24-point match high from Luka Marovt to secure both theirs and Japan’s placement among the eighthfinalists. The Slovenians finished their pool campaign on 2-2 and seven, currently below France (3-0 and nine) and above Bulgaria (2-1 and five) and Japan (1-2 and three). India have yet to win their first set of the tournament.

Bulgaria (BUL) vs. Japan (JPN) - Pool B #6261226

Two-man Bulgarian block stops a swing by Japan’s Takeru Watanabe

In Pool D, Italy handed Belgium their first defeat of the championship, but also suffered their first set loss in a four-setter on Saturday, with Lorenzo Magliano top-scoring 23 points towards the victory. Brazil bounced back from the previous day’s loss to Belgium with a shutout of Chile. Martos Antonio Soares Neto topped the scorers’ chart of the match with 16 points. With Chile finishing the pool winless at the bottom of the table, Mexico, currently fourth on 1-2, also progressed to the eighthfinals. Italy (3-0 and nine), Brazil (2-1 and seven) and Belgium (2-1 and five) are in the first three places in the pool table.