Plovdiv, Bulgaria, June 30, 2019 - The United States defeated Iran in the first match in Pool 19 in Plovdiv on Sunday in the 2019 men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Iran - United States (June 30, 2019)
- United States have a W11-L5 record against Iran at major world level tournaments.
- United States have won five of their last six world level meetings with Iran, with the only exception a 3-2 defeat at the 2017 Grand Champions Cup.
- Three of Iran's five world level victories against United States came in five sets.
- Since that 2017 Grand Champions Cup encounter, team USA defeated Iran in straight sets at the 2018 Volleyball Nations League and 2018 World Championship.
- Matthew Anderson (18) was the only player to score more than 13 points in last year's VNL meeting.
- Iran have a W12-L2 record in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League and are guaranteed a place in the Final Round, which is hosted by opponents United States.
- Iran's 12 wins are already a team record number of victories at a single world level tournament (previously 7).
- Iran have record seven 3-0 victories in the 2019 VNL, more than any other team.
- Mir Saeid Marouflakrani (average 8.88) is one of the leading setters in the 2019 VNL.
- Amir Ghafour (208) has already surpassed Iran's top scorer in the 2018 VNL, Milad Ebadipour Ghara H. (193). Ghafour has led the scorers table for the greater part of this preliminary round.
- United States have won eight and lost six Volleyball Nations League matches this season.
- As hosts of the Final Round, United States are assured of progress even though they might be ranked outside the top six at the moment.
- United States could lose seven matches at a single major world level tournament for the third time this century, after 2006 World League (7) and the 2017 World League (8).
- Despite not playing in the 3-1 win against Serbia on Saturday, Benjamin Patch (130) is still USA's top scorer this VNL campaign. Last year, only Matthew Anderson (166) won more points for USA in the preliminary round.
- Patch is also among the best attackers in the 2019 VNL, with 123 spikes from 216 attempts (56.94%).
Serbia - Bulgaria (June 30, 2019)
- Serbia (including predecessors) have a W11-L10 record against Bulgaria at major world level.
- Serbia have won seven of their last eight world level matches against Bulgaria, with the only exception a 3-2 defeat in the 2017 World League.
- The most recent world level match between Serbia and Bulgaria was also decided in five sets. Serbia won 3-2 in the 2018 Volleyball Nations League.
- At European Championships, Bulgaria have the upper hand against Serbia (including predecessors) sporting a W12-L5 record. Four of Serbia's five wins came in their last five meetings.
- Serbia have won five and lost nine matches in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League.
- Serbia (includes predecessors) could lose six successive matches within a single world level tournament for the second time after the 1966 World Championship, when Yugoslavia lost their final six matches.
- Serbia (W5-L9) could lose 10 matches at a single major world level competition for the second time after the 1998 World League (10 as Serbia and Montenegro).
- Bozidar Vucicevic leads Serbia in scoring in this year's VNL on 124 points. In 2018, Drazen Luburic was Serbia's top scorer in the preliminary round on 152 points.
- Vucicevic reeled off 25 points in the 3-1 defeat against United States on Saturday, at least 10 more than any other player on court.
- Bulgaria's 3-0 defeat against Iran on Saturday ended a two-match winning streak for Bulgaria. A third successive win would have meant a VNL team record for the Europeans.
- Bulgaria (W5-L9) are one win shy of matching their track record in the 2018 VNL (W6-L9).
- Tsvetan Sokolov is Bulgaria's top scorer this VNL season, on 145 total points. Last year, Nikolay Uchikov amassed a team-high total of 169 points in the preliminary round.
- Svetoslav Gotsev is among the best blockers in the 2019 VNL, averaging 0.46 stuff blocks per set.