2017 FIVB WORLD LEAGUE
- June 2nd-July 8th, 2017
- Tournament site
- Pool A1
- Pesaro, Italy
A rematch of last year’s Olympic final went the same way on Sunday as it did in August – a win for Brazil that was closer than the final score indicated.
This time, Italy had the home-court advantage, and they used it for several emotional runs, but ultimately Brazil was just a little better in a lot of different key moments, and that was the difference.
The loss drops Italy to 7th in the current standings: 2 spots lower than it needs to be to earn an invite to the Final 6. Brazil ranks 3rd, but as hosts don’t need the spot to qualify forward.
The other game in Pool A1 on Sunday polished off what was a topsy-turvy weekend in Pesaro. Poland, who looked so good when beating Brazil and Italy on Friday and Saturday, lost to previously pointless Iran 3-1.
Editor’s Note: While teams are divided into 4-team pools for pragmatic reasons on each of the 3 weekends of the tournament, each teams’ record goes into a single table to determine who advances to the knockout stages. The pool standings presented here are to help keep up with each pool only, and on each day of the tournament, we will post a summary that includes the full table as well.
Brazil def. Italy 3-1 (25-15, 17-25, 25-23, 25-22)
The 1st set score looks lopsided on paper, but in practice was more competitive than it appeared – with close-play after close-play all breaking just in the way of the Brazilians.
In the 2nd set, with a near-sellout crowd of 7000 behind them, Italy rallied and turned more of those 50-50 plays in their favor. The effort in the last two, however, wasn’t enough as Brazil finished with 25-23 and 25-22 wins in the final two sets.
Evandro Guerra for Brazil and Luca Vettori for Italy each had 19 points to lead the way. Guerra was successful on 50% of his attempts with 6 errors for an overall .342 efficiency rating.
Italy did have a big statistical advantage in blocks (11-7 in their favor). They’re playing without Emanuele Birarelli, who made the Rio Olympic dream team last year at middle blocker, and struggled there through the first two games. Against Iran and Poland, they had only 11 blocks combined.
Iran def. Poland 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22)
8 aces from Iran out-weighed 11 blocks from Poland as another twist in Group A1 landed Sunday afternoon in Pesaro. Poland, after beating the Olympic gold and silver medalists earlier this weekend, lost to Iran, who had previously lost to both Brazil and Italy this weekend.
The service game was the difference for Iran on Sunday. After just 2 aces in each of their first 2 games, they exploded for 8 from 4 different players on Sunday. That included 3 from Ghara Ebadipour, who also had 2 blocks in the game and 11 kills for 16 total points.
Smir Ghafour led Iran with 19 total points – 16 kills, 2 blocks, and an ace of his own.
Poland was led by 20 points from Dawid Konarski. His scoring outputs this tournament have been 20-17-20 against Brazil, Italy, and Poland, respectively.