Iran suffered an early exit of the volleyball competitions at the Tokyo Olympics after a 3-2 defeat against Japan on Sunday saw the Asian powerhouse finish fifth in Pool A.
Vladimir Alekno’s men rallied from a first-set 25-21 loss to win the second and third 25-20 and 31-29 respectively, before the host forced the match into a decider with a 25-22 victory in the fourth set.
Japan, who had beaten Iran in straight sets at the Volleyball Nations League in May, established a three-point lead early in the fifth set, courtesy of double successive aces, and went on to win the set 15-13.
Yuji Nishida stole the show for Japan with 30 points, followed by Yuki Ishikawa, who tallied 20.
Meisam Salehi had 26 points in the Iranian outfit, with Milad Ebadipour and Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi scoring 14 apiece.
The result meant Japan overtook Canada, which was beaten 3-0 by group winner Poland earlier in the day, for the third spot of the group behind Italy.
The host will take on Brazil in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, while Canada will face the Pool B winner Russian Olympic Committee.