On the second matchday of the Pool A of men’s volleyball games at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the world champions Poland put the disappointment of a shock opening defeat by Iran behind them by defeating Italy in straight sets on Monday, while Iran also crushed Venezuela to secure its second win.
The second-ranked Poland won 25-20 26-24 25-20 against Italy to open their account in Pool A with indomitable outside hitter Wilfredo Leon leading the way with 18 points.
Italian duo Alessandro Michieletto and Osmany Juantorena, the heroes of their sensational comeback victory over Canada on Saturday, had nine points each but Poland’s defence proved too strong with the team making 22 successful digs.
“From zero to 10, I think (our performance) was eight. It wasn’t the best,” Leon told reporters. “But we won and this is the most important part.”
After Iran’s five-set epic in their opening win over Poland on Saturday, they had a relatively comfortable outing in their second match against Venezuela, wrapping up a 25-17 25-20 25-18 victory, Reuters reports.
Iran dominated on serve, made 10 blocks at the net and set up numerous spiking opportunities as Amir Ghafour top-scored with 16 points and Meisam Salehi had 13.
“Today, we controlled the game, we made less mistakes,” Ghafour said.
However, Iran’s second win was not enough to put it in the Pool A’s top place, as Japan bagged another three points today to sit first in Pool A.
Japan lost the opening set against Canada but their patience in subsequent rallies paid off as Yuji Nishida (23 points) and Yuki Ishikawa (22) galvanised the hosts to top Pool A with a tight 23-25 25-23 25-23 25-20 victory.
“The next opponent Italy plays with more quality, so I am just focusing on the next game. Then we will see what lies ahead,” Nishida, who injured his ankle in May and is still not at 100%, said.