Sofia, Bulgaria, September 23, 2018 – Despite playing with backups USA won for the eighth time in a row completing its second perfect round. The Americans managed a 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 26-24) victory over Iran in three tightly contested sets.
John Speraw, head coach of USA: “It’s always hard against Iran. I’ve always felt that in terms of skill set, ball control, precision Iran is one of the top teams in the world. We played a lot in the last five years and I feel that always we have a really good battles. Today’s was surprisingly easy, because we came out with our second squad. I’m very pleased with the guys for the way they competed.”
Said Marouf, player of Iran: “We fought very well in the first round in Varna and qualified with four victories but in Sofia we started with a very tough game against Bulgaria. We lost and it was difficult to come back. The game against Bulgaria crushed our dreams for Torino. After two loses in a row it was hard to play against USA, one of the best teams in the World. We had bad results in the second round but at the end of the day I’m happy that I played in the World Championship. Now we’ll enjoy watching the Final Six.”
Aaron Russel, player of USA: “It was nice to get a rest, it was a good opportunity for the second team to come out and gather some experience. I think that if we can achieve a straight win with our second team, we could make everything in this tournament. We are ready for Italy. We‘ll have to fight for every point there.”
Igor Kolakovic, head coach of Iran: “USA came out with absolutely different six than last night, we played against their second team. Our young players had the opportunity to show their talent but I think that they didn’t perform the best way because they haven’t any practice. Without practice they can’t play at this level. I’m still thinking Iran has a lot of young and some really experienced players and the combination can lead to a really good result in four years time!”
Benjamin Patch, player of USA: “It was a really good match for us. We started with different boys and It was a good opportunity for our first six to take a break and rest after the hard matches. But it’s amazing that we’re going to Italy with 8 wins. Of course we want to win the World Championship, but our main goal is to win every single match, set and point. The most important is to stay focused till the end. Each match presented us own challenges. Honestly, the battle against Bulgaria was really hard but back in Bari – the match against Russia gave us some big challenges. They are a massive team, really tall boys and it was tough – physical team against another physical team.
The most funniest comment for our team was made by the Bulgarian Valentin Bratoev – that we are like the Monstars from Space Jam but they didn’t have Buggs Bunny and Michael Jordan. It was more than funny for us because the favorite song of our team is the Space Jam soundtrack.”