The hosts Japan made the biggest upset at the start of the 2019 FIVB World Cup! The Asian side recorded a clear victory over the weakened Italian team, who came to the event without stars like Zaytsev, Juantorena, Piano, etc. Still, this fact does not diminish the play of Japan in the match that was held in Fukuoka: 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21).
The home squad had an absolute leader on the court, embodied in Yuki Ishikawa. The Japanese superstar scored 19 points through a 76.2% attack success rate (16/21)! The debutant in Italy National Team, the Dutch-born Dick Kooy, was the top scorer on the other side, along with Gabriele Nelli, with 12 points.
Argentina stunned the defending champions USA in Fukuoka! Despite coming to the World Cup with a roster that is a mix of the 2019 Pan American Cup silver medalists and some more experienced players who were involved in booking the ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Argentina National Team beat the United States by a 3-2 (25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 15-12). The USA brought their best team, which really makes this defeat quite an upset.
Martín Ramos led Argentina to the revenge over the North Americans for a defeat in the final match of the previous edition of the tournament with 20 points (73.9% attack; 17/23). Aaron Russell scored 18 for the USA.
Despite having trained only once prior to the World Cup, Russia beat the almost strongest possible composition of Iran by a 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 24-26, 25-22). Both teams came to the event in Japan after completing exhausting continental championships. However, Iran National Team was far more successful, winning the gold medal, while Russia was eliminated in the quarter-finals.
The “Zbornaya“ came to the World Cup with an alternative squad (no Butko, Mikhailov, Volkov…), while Iran only miss starting middle blocker Seyed Mousavi who stayed home due to injury. However, Russia proved to be a better rival in the match that was played in Nagano.
Yaroslav Podlesnykh scored joint game-high 18 points (just as Iran’s Milad Ebadipour), while Ivan Iakovlev made 6 kill blocks.
Without Wallace in the roster, Brazil swept Canada in straight sets. Egypt shocked Australia (3-1), while Poland (without any of the 14 players from the 2019 EuroVolley, but with Kurek in the squad after a long time) easily downed Tunisia.
2019 FIVB World Men’s Volleyball Cup – Day 1:
Australia – Egypt 1-3 (22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 18-25)
USA – Argentina 2-3 (21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 12-15)
Russia – Iran 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 24-26, 25-22)
Poland – Tunisia 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-12)
Brazil – Canada 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-14)
Japan – Italy 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21)
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