Head coach Behrouz Ataei announced Iran’s initial 22-man squad for the upcoming FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship – starting August 26 in Poland and Slovenia.
Veteran middle blocker Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi has received a surprise call-up to the team – having last represented Iran at last year’s Tokyo Olympics under ex-Russian coach Vladimir Alekno – but will see competition from Mehdi Jelveh and Amirhossein Toukhteh for a place in the final list, after the young duo had a decent campaign at the recently-finished Volleyball Nations League.
Ali-Asghar Mojarrad – also a contender for the middle blocker position – as well as Meysam Salehi and Javad Karimi have been named in the squad and will be hoping to recover in time from the injury that ruled them out of the country’s 13 VNL fixtures.
Opposite spiker Bardia Sa’adat has been left out of contention for the showdown, making way for Mohammad-Javad Manavinejad.
The following is Iran’s initial squad that will start a 10-day training camp in Tehran on Monday:
Milad Ebadipour, Amirhossein Esfandiar, Morteza Sharifi, Meysam Salehi, Ehsan Daneshdoost, Mohammad-Javad Manavinejad, Shahrouz Homayounfarmanesh, Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi, Ali-Asghar Mojarrad, Amirhossein Toukhteh, Mehdi Jelveh, Reza Abedini, Amin Esmaeilnejad, Saber Kazemi, Pouria Yali, Javad Karimi, Mohammad-Taher Vadi, Ali Ramezani, Fazel Pazhooman, Mohammadreza Hazratpour, Mohammadreza Mo’azen, Abolfazl Qolipour
Iran will head to Poland for a couple of friendly fixtures against Ukraine on August 15 and 16 before taking part at the Hubert Jerzy Wagner Memorial Tournament, which will begin on August 17 in Krakow.
The three-day event, named after the late Polish volleyball player and coach, will see Iran take on Serbia, Poland – in a repeat of the double VNL five-set thrillers – and Argentina.
Ataei’s men will then fly to Slovenia to play the cohost of the World Championship on August 23.
Looking to build on a promising VNL display, Iran will kick off its campaign at the flagship international volleyball event against Argentina in Ljubljana on August 27 in Pool F, which also features Egypt and the Netherlands.
The reigning Asian champion will then take on Egypt and the Netherlands on August 29 and 31.
The top two of the six groups plus the best four third-placed teams will progress to the last-16 round.