Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 16, 2016 – Brazil used a service storm over Iran to win 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 28-26) in the opening match of the FIVB Volleyball World League 2016. Lucas Saatkamp, with 17 points, and Ricardo Lucarelli, with 16, were the top scorers and main attractions on court.
The match in Rio de Janiero kicked off this year's edition of the World League. Both teams haven't met in this competition since 2014, when they have played against each other five times. Iran claimed three victories, while Brazil took two.
Brazil opened their World League campaign in Arena Carioca 1, which will be hosting basketball during the Olympic Games. The team is up to regain World League gold after winning their last one - ninth in history - back in 2010. Iran began its fourth season in the World League, with their best result being fourth place in 2014.
The hosts started the match with an efficient serve that brought some difficulties to Iran’s reception. Lucas Saatkamp, Brazil’s middle blocker, were the main source of concern with his service sequence. He helped the Brazilians to increase their advantage on the board over eight points 14-6. The Iranians tried to make a come back, but there was a huge wall waiting on the other side of the net, stopping the Asians side-out several times. With a block, Saatkamp finished the first set to the home team 25-19.
The Iranians came to the second set with more attitude, but as in the previous set, the Brazilian service continued to cause damage. Bruno Rezende and Lucas Saatkamp were the main servers from Brazil while Saeid Marouf, Iran’s captain and setter, struggled to fix the broken pass of his colleagues. Ricardo Lucarelli, Brazil’s wing spiker, with a strong spike from behind scored the last point of the second set with the South-Americans ahead, 25-16.
The third set was crucial for Iran’s expectations. So they decided to be more ferocious on the serve. Mehdi Mahdavi and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour brought a new energy on Team Iran and took the Persians ahead on the board for a long time, but it was not enough. The duo formed by Lucarelli and Lucas were inspired and led Brazil onto a three-sets victory finishing the third set by 28-26.