Boys' U19 World Championship 2023 - News.

Korea (KOR) vs. Argentina (ARG) - Eight finals #6333828

Korea disappointed the home crowd in San Juan in a five-set thriller

Bulgaria, Iran and Korea persevered through tough five-set battles in their FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship eighthfinals against Brazil, Serbia and Argentina, respectively, on Tuesday to advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Belgium, Egypt, France, Italy and United States also progressed to the best eight of the tournament to continue their quest for planetary honours.

In the last eighthfinal of the day, in front of a full house of home fans on the stands, Korea produced a upset of hosts Argentina, the number four team in the FIVB U19 Boys’ World Ranking. The home team heavily outplayed their opponents in blocking (15 stuffs against eight) and serving (six aces against one), but also committed far too many unforced errors to tilt the outcome Korea’s way.

In the deciding set, the Asians broke away on captain Yun Seojin’s turn to serve with seven points in a row to gain an 8-1 lead and then fought off all Argentinean efforts for a comeback. Lee Woojin put away the match winner to finish the match with 17 points, three short of Korea’s leading scorer Yun Gyeong. It was Argentina’s Fausto Diaz, however, who delivered the match high of 27 points, including two aces and three blocks.

On Wednesday, at 21:00 local time (midnight UTC), Korea will take on Italy in a duel for a spot in the semis. In their eighthfinal, the Italians managed a shutout of Japan with a 13-point match high from captain Lorenzo Magliano.

Bulgarian setter and captain Simeon Nikolov fired as many as seven aces towards his team’s victory over Brazil. The world’s number one U19 team overcame the South Americans’ solid blocking performance and the 30-point scoring spree of opposite Bryan Lucas Alves da Silva to dominate in offence, in precision and especially in serving (nine aces against two) to celebrate a spot in the quarterfinals.

Opposite Kristian Titriyski was Bulgaria’s leading scorer, with 24 points to his name, including an ace and two blocks. Outside hitter Aleksandar Kandev added another 18, while playmaker Simeon Nikolov finished with 11.

Bulgaria (BUL) vs. Brazil (BRA) - Eight finals #6328251

Bulgaria’s Titriyski swings past the Brazilian block

In Wednesday’s quarterfinals, less than 15 hours after their epic eighthfinal, Bulgaria will meet United States at 11:00 local time (14:00 UTC). The Americans advanced to that stage of the tournament after a sweep of their eighthfinal against Puerto Rico. USA’s Finn Kearney was the best scorer of the game with 13 points, including three aces and three blocks.

Serbia made a valiant effort to upset the world’s second-ranked team Iran and took the lead twice in their encounter, but twice the Asians managed to comeback and eventually emerged with a victory.

While the output of the two teams’ blocking and serving was relatively balanced and the Serbians made fewer unforced mistakes, it was the nicely distributed Iranian offence that made the difference in the match. Five Iranian players reached the double digits in scoring, three of them leading the way with 14 points each. Middle Armin Ghelichniazi raised three kill blocks to add to his 11 successful spikes, including the match winner. His cross-court teammate Taha Behboudnia had two stuffs and 12 points in attack, while opposite Mohammadreza Alejalil put away two aces, 11 kills in offence and a kill block. Serbia’s Nikola Brboric, Luka Stepanovic and Ignjat Dopudj led the scoring chart with 19, 18 and 17 points, respectively.

In a quarterfinal match-up set to start at 18:00 local time (21:00 UTC), Iran will face Belgium. In a hard-fought all-European eighthfinal, the Belgians celebrated a win over Slovenia. Eliot De Vleeschhauwer led the winners with 20 points, while Slovenia’s Luka Marovt delivered the match high of 24.

In the remaining quarterfinal clash, France will play against Egypt at 14:00 local time (17:00 UTC). On Tuesday, Egypt claimed a win over Colombia with a 20-point contribution from opposite Shrief Helawy, while France mastered a blowout of Mexico, with Adrien Roure leading the way with 12 points.

In the lower bracket, for the distribution of the places from ninth to 16th in the final standings, also on Wednesday, Puerto Rico will meet Brazil, Mexico will face Colombia, Serbia will play Slovenia and Japan will challenge Argentina.

Meanwhile, India edged forward in the race for the 17th place with a shutout of Chile.