By our correspondent
CHIBA, Japan: Pakistan, already in the last eight stage, today were beaten by holders Iran 3-0 and so finished second in their Group B competitions of the 21st Asian Men’s Senior Volleyball Championship at the Chiba Port Arena in Japan.
Following the outcome both Pakistan and Iran have been bracketed now in Group F with Chinese Taipei and four-time champions South Korea in the quarter-finals league. Iran showed dominance as they secured the first set against Pakistan 25-17. The Iranians then went on to lift second and third sets as well with 25-19 and 25-15 scorelines to seal a straight win, ending as group champions.
In Group E nine-time champions Japan, Australia, China and Qatar will now collide in the quarter-finals league. These eight teams of Group E and F will engage with each other in their respective groups in the quarter-finals league on the basis of the round robin system. The leading two sides from each pool will then make it to the semi-finals.
Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) said that the Green-shirts played well against strong Iran.
“Pakistan team today played much better than the previous two matches. The brigade played with great confidence and used its skills very well despite losing to Iran,” it added. “Iran are a very strong team, being champions of the last Asian Championship held in Iran in 2019 and are ranked 11th in the world. Iran has developed its volleyball as its top-ranked sport. It has made huge investments in this sport for the last 20 years,” the PVF observed. “Iran has been hiring the services of best coaches of the world by paying them heavily as the budget of Iran Volleyball Federation is more than Rs1 billion, which is more than the collective budget of Pakistan Sports Board which is meant for development of 40 sports,” the PVF said.
“We hope Pakistan will put in their best in quarter-finals league. We have a young side and the team is learning with every match. Pakistan have improved a lot in their skill level in the last three months under the coaching of Iranian Rahman Mohammadirad. The players have great potential and have physical ability to go to the top with greater exposure and more international competitions. The PVD wants to pursue its dreams of qualifying for the Olympics. We expect state will back us and so the private sector as well,” the PVF statement said.
On Tuesday in Group B Thailand defeated Hong 3-1 to finish third in their group.
In Group A Qatar blanked Bahrain 3-0 to finish second following leaders Japan while India tasted their third successive defeat when they were bulldozed by Japan 3-0. In Group C Australia won their third straight win when they beat former three-time champions China 3-2 to finish at the summit. This was the first loss for China and they ended as group runners-up.
Meanwhile in the same group Kuwait defeated Uzbekistan 3-1. In Group D Chinese Taipei defeated South Korea 3-1 to finish as group leaders with nine points. Saudi Arabia defeated Kazakhstan 3-0 to finish third in the group with six points. There will be a rest day on Wednesday (today) and the quarter-finals will begin on Thursday (tomorrow) with the actual schedule not yet known.
Similarly, the remaining eight teams will also be engaged in their own quarter-finals as they will be fighting for the 9th to 16th places now.