0541 GMT October 28, 2021
Iran, in its fourth outing at the volleyball contests of the Tokyo Olympics, suffered a 3-1 defeat against European powerhouse Italy.
Having the lost the first two sets 30-28 and 25-21, Vladimir Alekno’s men rallied to win the third 25-21, before failing to push the tie into a decider, losing the fourth set 25-21.
Friday’s result leaves Iran’s chances of progress into the last eight of the competition hanging in the balance, as Alekno’s team will now have to beat the host on Sunday to go through.
Meisam Salehi topped the scoring for Iran with 14 points, followed by Milad Ebadipour and Saber Kazemi, who chipped in 12 points apiece.
Italian Osmany Juantorena made the biggest contribution to his team’s victory with 20 points.
Iran had gotten off to a flying start in the Games, beating gold favorite Poland in a five-set thriller before cruising to victory against Venezuela in straight sets.
However, Iran was stunned by Canada, falling to a straight-set defeat, before suffering a second loss in the competition on Friday.
Poland, which easily beat Japan in three sets earlier in the day, tops Pool A with three wins, followed by Italy, which has also won three.
Canada also secured a place in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory over Venezuela, with the fourth spot at stake when Japan and Iran square off.
In Pool B, the Russian Olympic Committee and Brazil have also sealed their last-eight spots, with USA, Argentina, and France chasing the remaining two knockout spots.