Iran, China secure tickets to 2018 World Championship
Iran clebrate as they join China in advancing from the Asian qualifers at Ardabil to the 2018 FIVB World Championship.
The top two sides of the five-team, single round robin tournament in Ardabil qualify to the 2018 World Championship, which will be jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria next year.
Led by Amir Ghafour and Mohammad Mousavi, who scored 16 and 11 points respectively, Iran destroyed Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-16) with another blocking party of 13 stuffs to 4. The hosts are at the top of the table with an absolutely perfect record after three matches.
Earlier in the day China had shut out Korea 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-23) with Jiang Chuan once again leading the scoring on 14 points.
Both Iran and China are now already on an unsurpassable record of three wins and nine points with one round of play remaining in the Ardabil qualifiers.
Iran will be competing in the World Championship for the fourth time straight and sixth time overall, after a debut in 1970 and a best ever finish of sixth last time around in 2014.
China will be making their 14th appearance in the FIVB's flagship competition. They first took part in 1956 and have been competing continuously since 1994 in the quadrennial event. Chinas best ever finish was seventh place twice, in 1978 and 1982.
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Play wraps up Monday in Ardabil, with South Korea playing Kazakhstan at 15:30 local time (11:00 GMT) and Iran hosting Qatar at 18:00 (13:30 GMT).
Last month Japan and Australia claimed the other two berths available to Asian teams, through a qualification tournament held in Canberra.
Hosts Italy and Bulgaria, defending champions Poland have direct tickets to the FIVB's flagship tournament. France, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Russia, Serbia, Finland, and Belgium from Europe plus Japan and Australia from Asia, and Brazil from South America have already secured their berths through continental qualifiers.
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