It was a day of short games in Florence. USA and Brazil have completed the pair of the World League 2014 finalist after two three-sets semifinals. Brazil mercilessly held Italy down, confirming finally that rumors about the giants fall are absolutely unfounded. On the other hand, U.S National Team players destroy the legend about their good shape only in Olympic year by beating completely discharged Iran.


  • Iran – USA 0:3 (18:25, 22:25, 16:25)
  • Iran: Marouf 2, Ghaemi 5, Tashakori, Ghafour 10, Mirazjanpour 5, Mousavi 7, Zarif (L) and Mostafavand 2, Fayazi 1, Gholami 5, Mahdavi, Ghara
  • USA: Christenson 2, Rooney 11, Holt 10, Anderson 9, Sander 17, Lee 11, Shoji (L)


Experience, mutual cooperation and perfect systems understanding as well as their using won the first semifinal of the World League. U.S. national team surprisingly easily outplayed Iran, which has made the biggest quality jump over the last year, but unfortunately did not prove that in the most important moment.

The Persians lost their main trumps, which have been their trademark and part of getting the impression on opponents and supporters so far. The serves of the Arabs did not introduce into trouble the Americans, what had uncommon impact on their effectiveness level in the attack, but also left its mark in the embodiment of the block and a corresponding with the ins and outs of the game – defense. Iranians was not collecting points in blocking as often as they have been doing it in previous matches and did not carry so many rebounds, which would allow for a successful defense and counterattack. As if that was not enough, Sayed Mousavi, one of the best middle of the world, suffered his ankle injury and could not finish the match. This happening totally deprived Iranians, using political and military metaphors, Iran was like the builder and owner of the atomic bomb but not stuffed with uranium. Of course, the players of Slobodan Kovac were trying to shoot Americans with their rockets in the form of Amir Ghafour or Mojtaba Mirzajanpour, but failed miserably as the descendants of George Washington have a reliable ground-to-air shield (block and defense).

These two factors exactly determined so convincing victory of players from North America. Middle-blockers, Maxwell Holt and David Lee, walled up an access to their own court, what’s more, they ensured relevant contribution in the offensive work. You cannot forget about the serve that decided on the Iranian doings and decreasedthe level of difficultyin readingthe play for the U.S ‘centers’.

This semi-final was definitely the best game of Americans in this edition, because all the players presented a very high level of skill and commitment, even Soan Rooney, who has not impressed in previous matches. The biggest congratulations should be directed to Taylor Sander, who dazzled with calm and clever finishing the most demanding actions, despite he is still young and does not have abundant international experience. The new player of Calzedonia Verona ended the match with extraordinary, cause 80% of efficiency.



Actions Spike Spike % Block Serve Dig Reception Sets Unforced mistakes
Iran 35 46% 1 1 28 47% 11.67 15
USA 46 57% 7 7 31 50% 7.33 19


Florence 1

  • Italy – Brazil 0:3 (11:25, 23:25, 20:25)
  • Italy: Travica, Lanza 7, Piano, Zaytsev 9, Parodi 7, Birarelli 5, Rossini (L) and Baranowicz, Vettori 1, Buti 10, Randazzo
  • Brazil: Bruno 2, Murilo 3, Sidao 10, Wallace 10, Lucarelli 13, Lucas 11, Mario Jr. (L) and Raphael, Vissotto


“Let’s get ready to rumble”, Michael Buffer, a legendary American announcer for boxing, says this sentence, introducing to various fights. The match Italy-Brazil was supposed to be like a good boxing game, and not just because of the history of the first World League weekend, when the coaches of both teams, Bernardo Rezende and Mauro Berruto, used their fists to clinch. That game involved no victims, while the semi-final match ended with a heavy knock-out executed by the still current World Champions. ‘Canarinhos’ swept off host the tournament in straight sets and take second free seat in final.

Bookmakers favourites, Italy, was crowded to the defense immediately just after beginning and was not able to strike any hit over the first set. It is enough to say that the “Azzurri” won only 6 points on their own while gave 9 to Brazil as unforced errors. Middle-blockers of South America read Dragan Travica like a wide open book and Ivan Zaytsev was not finishing all “what was hung in the air”, indeed! He could not shot even one attack and gain one point in the premier set. Brazil got a party full of effectiveandefficient actions, closed with the score 25-11.

At the beginning of the 2nd set, the Italians built a multipoint advantage, but mainly due to errors Brazilians (9-5), and as you know you cannot just rely on opponent faults, for they can finally stop making them and there will appear a problem. This happened in the next part of the game, Murilo-and-co quickly came from behind ridiculing the hosts in the meantime. The only positive element of the Italians was first-temo , but only for a time because Dragan Travica massacred every second set. Brazilians have consistently built their advantage and quietly continued a winning streak until the state 18-23. Then the Azzurri noted 5 blocks in a row and a referee, Andrey Zenovich, come in play, but even this aid was not enough to wrest the party dashing Canarihnos, because Lucarelli completed the first set-ball and closed the set.

Tight and equal play point for point took place at the beginning until the first technical time-out, after which the Brazilians gained 3 point lead (9-12) mainly due to successful counterattacks. Unconventional solutions by Michele Baranowicz allowed the hosts to stay in touch, but only up to a point, because already at the first technical break lose 4 points (16-12). Great serves and impressive pipes by Lucarelli increased even more s the Brazilian advantage, which perfectly worked his block not allowing Italy to make up for the loss (14-19). Even then, there were no indications that could herald emotions, because Brazilians were pulsing with confidence, while the Italians finally realized that they will not be able to catch up with opponents. Ivan Zaytsev finished off the set with a serve mistake and thus signed a list of absentees in the semi-final (25-20).



Actions Spike Spike % Block Serve Dig Reception Sets Unforced mistakes
Italy 34 46% 4 1 26 61% 12.33 26
Brazil 35 61% 11 3 23 69% 9 15