Iran’s campaign at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship came to a finish at the round of 16 after the Asian powerhouse suffered a straight-set defeat (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) against Brazil in Gliwice, Poland.
Yoandy Leal was the only player to reach the double figures, chipping in 20 points for Brazil.
The outside hitter spiked to close off the first set, and also delivered a second-set winner with a pipe shot.
The 34-year-old Cuban-born, who enjoyed a 63% success rate on attack, was then brought in to produce his only kill block of the game for a match-point at 24-23, before Brazilian captain and setter Bruno Rezende finished off the game with a perfectly-placed ace.
Outside hitter Mohammad-Javad Ma’navinejad, as well as captain Milad Ebadipour and Amirhossein Esfandiar equally topped the scoring for Iran with eight.
Ma’navinejad, who was given a rare spot in the starting lineup, delivered a decent performance across the first two sets, contributing with two blocks and an ace, while Esfandiar led Iran’s surge in the third set with the exact same statistics.
For all the promising displays put in by Behrouz Ataei’s young side throughout the competition and the Volleyball Nations League earlier in the summer, it was always going to be a daunting task for Iran coming up against one of the dominant forces of the sport.
The South American giant – enjoying a 17-2 record against Iran prior to Tuesday’s game – outclassed the Asian powerhouse in the first set but the Iranians bounced back to give their opponent some hard time in the next two, though Renan Dal Zotto’s side still proved to be in a different class.
Despite the absence of star player Ricardo Lucarelli from the court, Brazil outspiked Iran with 41 attacking points against only 32 for the opponent, and that is what eventually made the biggest difference in the game.
Next for Brazil – chasing a record-extending fourth world title and first since 2010 – is an all-South American clash against Argentina in the last-eight round today, with the winner taking on either Poland or USA in the semis.
Beaten by Iran in a five-set thriller in the group phase, the Argentines took full advantage of a rather easier draw in the last-16 round – despite finishing behind Iran in Pool F – and beat Serbia in straight sets (25-23, 25-21, 25-23) to go through.