Chicago, USA, July 11, 2019 - Poland claimed a four set victory against Iran 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22) on Thursday, just a day after defeating Brazil in five. Again led by Bartosz Bednorz, who scored 24 points, Poland qualified for the semifinals of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Saturday. Iran and Brazil will play on Friday for the second semifinal berth up for grabs in the pool.
Bednorz was the top scorer for his team ahead of Norbert Huber on 14, while Amir Ghafour of Iran led his team with 22 points.
Iran finished second to Brazil in the Preliminary Round, claiming 12 victories in 15 matches, losing only to three teams participating in the Finals in Chicago, namely Brazil, France and USA.
The young Poland team surprised Olympic champions Brazil in the first match of the Finals on Wednesday in five sets 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-9).
Iran defeated Poland in five sets 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-8) when the two teams met in the Preliminary Round in Urmia in week 3. Amir Ghafour was the top scorer for Iran with 28 points while Lukasz Kaczmarek had 21 for the European side.
- Iran have a W7-L12 record against Poland at world level major competitions (FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup).
- Iran have won both matches against Poland in the Volleyball Nations League, 3-0 in 2018 and 3-2 on 15 June 2019.
- Iran's Amir Ghafour (28) and Poland's Lukas Kaczmarek (21) were their team's top scorers in that 3-2 Iran win.
- Poland's most recent wins against Iran were straight-sets victories at the 2018 World Championship and in the 2017 World League.
- Iran could win their first trophy in a world level major competition . They have won seven Asian trophies - Asian Championship (2), Asian Games (2), Asian Cup (3).
- Iran enter this year's finals as the second ranked team in the preliminary round. Last year they finished 10th in the preliminary phase.
- Iran has suffered three defeats in this year's VNL, all against teams that also qualified for the final round - Brazil (3-2), France (3-0) and USA (3-0).
- Amir Ghafour (57.73) recorded the highest spike success rate of all players in the 2019 preliminary round and only Yuji Nishida (JPN, 220) scored more points in the preliminary round than Ghafour (208).
- Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi's 0.49 average in the best blocker category was the second best in this year's preliminary round, behind Canada's Graham Vigrass (0.50).
- Mir Saeid Marouflakrani led the 2019 preliminary phase as best setter with an average of 8.42.
- Iran were the only team to have three players in the top 10 of best receivers in the 2019 preliminary round - Mohammadreza Hazratpourtalatappeh (21.95%), Milad Ebadipour Ghara H. (20.31%) and Purya Fayazi D. (19.83%).
- Following Poland's 3-2 win versus Brazil, they can reach the semi-finals with a victory against Iran.
- Poland have won eight matches in a row in the VNL. They can now claim nine successive wins in a major world level competition for the first time since 10 victories in a row at the 2015 World Cup.
- Poland had six players reaching double figures in scoring in their 3-2 win against Brazil. Bartosz Bednorz led the team in scoring on 18 points, ahead of Karol Klos (15), who scored five points from blocks.
- Poland's 12 points from blocks versus Brazil are already more than they had in the final round in 2018 (9).
- Bartosz Bednorz's 18 points are four shy of Bartosz Kurek's 23 points as top scorer of Poland in the 2018 final round.