Saeid Marouf: The substitutions gave us the victory


Captain Marouf celebrates the victory with his teammates

Tehran, Iran, July 1, 2016 - Iran achieved an incredible comeback from two sets down to deliver to Serbia their first defeat in FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 after beating them by 3-2 (16-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14) to please the 12,000-strong home crowd.

Dragan Stankovic, captain of Serbia: “First of all, I congratulate the Iranian team. In the first and the second sets we had advantage in serving, defense and attack, but in the third and fourth sets we stopped and let Iran play. The crowd was also with them, so we could not concentrate. I think both teams played well but Iran were better and won the game. We will now focus on tomorrow’s match against Argentina.”

Saeid Marouf, captain of Iran: “Serbia was the only undefeated team in Group 1 of the World League this year. We knew the match would be very difficult. I expected to begin the match very evenly, but Serbia opened the match better and dominated the first two sets and we were not able to perform our plans. But I am happy with the substitutions we made which helped our team get the results and we came back to the game in the third set. We showed the real power of Iran in the third and fourth sets. The fifth set was so close and I think the players’ individual skill helped us in the crucial moments of the game. Anyway, it was a sweet win for us as we stopped Serbia and managed their first loss.”

Nikola Grbic, coach of Serbia: “First, congratulations to Iran. They won because they played better and made the right changes. I can divide this match into two parts. Because we played good volleyball in the first two sets, we were serving, receiving and attacking very well. Even when we did not serve well we managed to attack well. But in the third and fourth sets we stopped and could not remember what to do. We could not recognize some situations we were talking about for defense, for blocking, we had some opportunity in third set, easy ones that we did not make them. That’s why I am not satisfied. We lost against a good team. We will try to think about the future and tomorrow.”

Raul Lozano, coach of Iran: “Before anything I should say tonight was a special one in my life and the fans at the hall created a fantastic atmosphere with their positive participation. I am satisfied with my players who came back to the match after two bad sets and controlled the game. Congratulations to my friend Nikola Grbic for this fantastic team following the right path and keeping it in shape and I am sorry Serbia did not qualify to the Olympic due to the formula of the qualification. About my team I should say that I am very happy about this win and the qualification they have recently made to Rio.”


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