This past weekend the FIVB Heroes were challenged to defend their spot in the FIVB annual men’s competition. But neither Shimizu’s great spiking abilities nor Fukuzawa’s leadership qualities helped team Japan win at even a set against Iran in the second round of the Qualifier.
Both teams are part of the Asian Volleyball Confederation, which, according to the qualification process rules saw them play against each other: Japan as a holder of the 15th place in the World League 2012, and Iran as one of the two winners of the Qualifier’s first round. For team Iran these two 3-0 victories (25-19, 25-14, 25-23) and (25-16, 25-17, 25-21) were the 5th and the 6th consecutive ones over Japan and have earned them a ticket to the World League 2013, where they will play the for first time in Iran’s history.
In spite of the losses Tatsuya Fukuzawa proved a glorious captain, scoring 15 points in the first match and 10 in the second. His teammate Kunihiro Shimizu missed his chance to shine in the first game, but caught up with Fukuzawa in the second. Now the Japanese FIVB Heroes can concentrate on the club season and try to re-enter the competition next year.