- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Saturday the United States delivered a devastating blow to Iran — on the volleyball court.

The U.S. bested the Middle Eastern nation 3 games to 0 to advance to the Gold Medal match at the FIVB World League Finals held in Florence, Italy. America will go on to play the winner of Saturday’s afternoon match, Italy vs. Brazil.

Launched just before 1990, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball is the governing body of international volleyball competitions. Americans may have more recently become familiar with the body’s cousin in charge of soccer – FIFA.

The match was Iran’s first ever appearance in the semi-finals. They had already beaten Brazil 3-1 to advance. Top ranked Brazil was resting several key players after having already secured a semi-final spot, but No. 12 Iran was still not widely predicted to prevail before the match.

Italy, meanwhile, is hoping it can become the first home team to capture the gold since 1994, when they were victorious in Milan.