Three matches in the next three days will determine if the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team reaches the semifinals for the first time in World Championship history.
No. 9 United States will play its World Championship second-round opener against No. 4 Iran on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to Iran, the United States will play the other two Pool E teams — No. 2 Russia and No. 11 Spain — this weekend. The top two teams after the three second-round matches will advance to the semifinals.
The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team is comprised of 15 current college men’s volleyball players and four incoming freshmen.
Check out what to know about the Pool A match between the United States and Iran.
No. 9 United States (2-1, 0-0 Pool E) vs. No. 4 Iran (2-1, 0-0 Pool E)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. (3 p.m. EST) in Rio de Janeiro
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
Last medal finish at World Championship: United States (never); Iran (2007 bronze)
Current NCAA players on roster: United States (15); Iran (zero)
What to know: For the second consecutive World Championship, the United States and Iran will play each other in the second round. Two years ago the United States lost to Iran in five games to finish in last place in its second-round pool. The United States will now open the second round against Iran as it attempts to win its first second-round match in World Championship history since the tournament changed formats in 2009. In its first-round pool-play, the United States swept No. 15 Bulgaria and defeated No. 13 Japan in four games to win Pool A. It was the first time in more than 10 years that the United States finished in first place in World Championship pool-play. Iran reached the second-round after finishing in second place in Pool D with victories against Canada and Belgium. BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander leads the United States and is in the tournament’s top five with 47 kills through the first round. In addition, U.S. setter Micah Christenson, an incoming freshman recruit for USC, is second in the tournament with a 8.45 assists per game average. Iran outside attacker Amir Ghafour leads his team with 35 kills and a .412 attack percentage.