Men's U21 World Championship 2021 News

MU 21 CAN vs THA03

Canada and Iran will go against each other in Sunday’s ninth place match at the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship in Sofia. On Saturday, at the Levski Sofia hall in Bulgaria, Canada shut out their playoff opponents Thailand, Iran defeated Cuba in four sets. The two losing teams will contest the 11th place in the final standings of the tournament.

Canada outclassed Thailand to claim a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-17) victory and progress to Sunday’s match for the ninth place. With minor exceptions early into the sets, the North Americans were well in control of the scoreboard and cruised to an emphatic win. There servers contributed as many as nine aces to the victory, against none for the Asian team. Canada outplayed Thailand in spiking and blocking as well.

Sub-in Jonathan Pickett hammered the winner to tally a match-high 14 points. His teammates Cory Schoenherr and Samuel Cooper added 12 points apiece, while none of the Thai players managed to reach the double digits.

“It feels really good to be on the court. I just love the opportunity to be here in Bulgaria representing my country and it is fun to fight in every match together with my ‘brothers’ on the court. The start today was a bit tough, but the end was positive and we are happy now,” Canada’s outside hitter Jonathan Pickett told Volleyball World.

Iran celebrated with a 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 17-25, 25-23) win over Cuba in the second playoff game for a spot in the ninth-place match in Sofia. Their complete domination in the first set was crowned with middle blockern Amir Hossein Toukhteh’s blistering kill for the last point. Led by Alexei Ramirez, Cuba stepped up their attacks, but came across impenetrable Iranian blocks, which produced seven stuff towards a second set win, shaped up by Mahdi Jelveh and Bardia Saadat’s two-men block. In the next two sets, the squad from the Caribbean island further improved their spiking, as well as the blocking, but managed to win only one. Despite a 10-point tally by Cuban captain Marlon Yant in the fourth, the set and the match went Iran’s way on an off-the-block hit by Amin Khalili.

Iran’s Khalili and Cuba’s Ramirez led the match scorers with 17 points each, followed by Cuban substitute Marlon Yant with 15 and Iranian outside Sina Nikpoor with 14. A lot of points were recorded by the blockers of both teams. Iran registered 18 stuffs, against 13 from the Cubans.

“It was a difficult match for us and very important for the team and for the mentality of each Iranian player. We came here well prepared and wanted to show high-quality volleyball for the win. Now we are happy about the result. I am very thankful to our physiotherapist who quickly helped me after the injury in the third set and brought me back to the court,” said Iran’s captain Amir Hossein Toukhteh.