Argentina, Japan to clash for last ticket to World Championship Round 2


Lausanne, Switzerland, September 17, 2018 - Argentina handed Slovenia their first defeat in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in five dramatic sets, but will still play a decisive game on Tuesday for the last remaining ticket to the next phase of the competition. All other 15 berths to Round 2 have been booked, with one day to spare in first round pool play - though exact positions to determine pool composition of the next round have yet to be determined.

Italy (4-0), Slovenia (3-1) and Belgium (3-2) have all advanced from Pool A, with the last spot to be decided on Tuesday when Argentina (2-2) and Japan (1-3) go head-to-head. The South Americans need two sets to go through. The loser will join the Dominican Republic (0-5) in elimination.

The Netherlands (4-1), Canada (3-1), Brazil (3-1) and France (2-2) qualify from Pool B, with Egypt (1-4) and China (0-4) returning home regardless of Tuesday's results.

From Pool C, USA (4-0), Serbia (3-1), Russia (3-1) and Australia (2-3) have confirmed their second round tickets. The two African sides in the pool, Cameroon and Tunisia, are eliminated.

And in Pool D, Poland (4-0), Bulgaria (3-1), Iran (3-1) and Finland (2-2) have already qualified to Round 2, with the two Caribbean teams of Cuba and Puerto Rico taking flights home.

Iran's Amir Ghafour gets blocked by Poland's Artur Szalpuk and Mateusz Bieniek as the defending champions remain undefeated at the 2018 FIVB World Championship.

Other Monday highlights:
• Defending champions Poland shut out Iran to remain undefeated at the top of Pool D.
• Brazil bounced back from their shock defeat to the Netherlands on Sunday to beat Canada in four sets on Monday. It was Canada's first defeat in the competition.
• Miguel Gutierrez scored 31 points to lead Cuba to their first win of the 2018 World Championship, in four sets over Puerto Rico in the Caribbean derby. He is the third player in the competition to go above 30 points, after Puerto Rico's Maurice Torres (37) and the Netherlands' Nimir Abdel-Aziz (31) broke the mark, both on Sunday.
• Both Cuba (1-4) and Puerto Rico (0-5) completed their obligations at the World Championship and will not be continuing in the next phase of the competition.
• With his 31 point against Puerto Rico, Gutierrez leads the best scorers list on a total of 86 points. Maurice Torres of Puerto Rico scored 16 in the same game and is now second overall on 79.

Canada's Graham Vigrass spikes past the block of Brazil's Lucas Saatkamp, Monday in Ruse.

Match Centres:
Belgium - Dominican Republic 3-0
Argentina - Slovenia 3-2
Egypt - The Netherlands 1-3
Brazil - Canada 3-1
Russia - Cameroon 3-0
Australia - Tunisia 3-1
Cuba - Puerto Rico 3-1
Iran - Poland 0-3

Cuba's Miguel Gutierrez tries to beat the block of Puerto Rico's Juan Vazquez in the Caribbean derby, Monday in Ruse.

Play continues on Tuesday, September 18 in Florence, Ruse, Bari and Varna with last remaining eight matches of 1st Round pool play.

Match Centres for Tuesday 18 September:
Japan v Argentina in Florence (Pool A) at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
Italy v Slovenia in Florence (Pool A) at 21:15 local time (19:15 GMT)
China v Brazil in Ruse (Pool B) at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT)
Canada v France in Ruse (Pool B) at 20:30 local time (17:30 GMT)
USA v Tunisia in Bari (Pool C) at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
Serbia v Russia in Bari (Pool C) at 20:30 local time (18:30 GMT)
Finland v Iran in Varna (Pool D) at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT)
Bulgaria v Poland in Varna (Pool D) at 20:40 local time (17:40 GMT)

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FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018
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