Men's U21 World Championship 2023 - News.

Iran (IRI) vs. Poland (POL) men - Pool E #5697085

Iran’s man of the match Pourya Hossein Khanzadeh in attack

Iran upset reigning U19 world champions Poland in the opening Pool E match of the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship in Bahrain. Bulgaria, Brazil and Italy also made important steps towards qualifying for the semifinals by winning their first second-phase games in Manama on Tuesday.

Pool E
Iran (IRI) vs. Poland (POL) men - Pool E #5697073

Iran’s Amir Mohammad Golzadeh spikes between the Polish blockers

In a remake of one of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship semifinals, bronze medallists Iran took revenge from gold medallists Poland, stunning them with a shutout. In the opening Pool E match of the second stage of the tournament in Manama, the Asians capitalized on the abundant Polish errors, but also on Pourya Hossein Khanzadeh’s seven aces, to defeat the opponents in straight sets. The Iranian outside hitter delivered another 10 points in attack to top the scorers’ chart of the match on a 17-point tally. His counterpart Piotr Sliwka and opposite Aliaksei Nasevich finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively, for Poland.

Bulgaria (BUL) vs. Thailand (THA) men - Pool E #5712219

Bulgarian middle Ivaylo Damyanov in first-tempo action

2021 U19 silver medallists Bulgaria made a strong start to the second phase of the World Championship. Without much ado, they hammered out a shutout of Thailand, outplaying the opponents in spiking, in serving and in blocking. Opposite Venislav Antov powered the Europeans with 17 points, including an ace and a kill block. Bulgarian senior national team’s rising star Aleksandar Nikolov, a Dream Teamer at both the U19 World Championship in 2021 and the U20 European Championship in 2022, added 14 points towards the victory, including two aces. Thailand’s outside Jakkrit Thanomnoi led his team with 11 points, all in attack.

Pool F
Brazil (BRA) vs. Belgium (BEL) men - Pool F #5709386

Brazil’s Samuel Neufeld celebrates

Brazil and Belgium opened Pool F for business with a hard-fought four-set battle, in which the South Americans celebrated a victory. The Europeans had their moments in sets one and two, when they were well in control of the score, but eventually the Brazilians prevailed. Only after losing set three, the South Americans managed to stay in the lead throughout the fourth set, but still won it by the narrowest of margins. Belgium outserved Brazil by nine aces to three, but that was not enough to offset their deficit in the other elements. Their opposite and captain Ferre Reggers, the best scorer of the 2021 U19 World Championship, produced a match-high 23 points, including two aces and a block. His Brazilian counterpart Samuel Neufeld, MVP of the 2022 South American U21 Championship, led his team to victory with 16 points, including three kill blocks.

Argentina (ARG) vs. Italy (ITA) men - Pool F #5725572

The Italians celebrate

The second Pool F match of the day was decided in straight sets. Defending U21 world champions Italy mastered a win over Argentina. Three players reached the double digits in scoring during the game, all of them Italian, and each of them had an ace and a kill block on record. Opposite Alessandro Bovolenta, the Most Valuable Player of the 2022 CEV U20 European Championship, led the way with 17 points, followed by outside hitters Mattia Orioli with 13 and Riccardo Iervolino with 10.