Iran beat Italy 3-2 to claim the FIVB Men's Under-21 World Championship trophy ©FIVB

Iran regained their International Volleyball Federation Men's Under-21 World Championship crown by beating defending champions Italy in Bahrain.

The Iranians prevailed 25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-9 in a five-set thriller in capital city Manama.

It was their second gold in the history of the competition following the 2019 triumph, also in Bahrain.

Opposite Amir Mohammad Golzadeh was instrumental for Iran as their leading scorer with two aces, two kill blocks, and 16 spiking points.

"I thank God.

"I am so happy to win this World Championship trophy," Amir Mohammad Golzadeh said.

"I wish the best to the Italian team.

"They played very well tonight in the final.

"We are a very good team.

"We know our potential, and some of our stars can join the senior team."

Italy's Alessandro Bovolenta was the best scorer of the match with 21 points while team-mate Mattia Orioli added another 17, including four aces and a block.

For the Italians, the silver was the third consecutive and eighth overall U21 World Championship medal.

They won gold in 2021, silver in 1985, 1991, 1993, 2019 and 2023, and bronze in 1995 and 2013.

Bulgaria beat Argentina in the third-placed play-off to win bronze ©FIVB
Bulgaria beat Argentina in the third-placed play-off to win bronze ©FIVB

"It was a strong match," said Italian head coach Matteo Battocchio.

"It was 3-2, and in the three sets that we lost, we gave up too early.

"This is not the right thing for us, because we worked hard to be here and try to live this dream, and we gave up too early.

"We did what we could do, so the truth is they are a strong team. 

"We knew that to win this match, we had to play better than them, but they played better than us and this is part of the game."

Earlier on the final day, Bulgaria cruised past Argentina 25-22, 28-26, 25-19 to win the bronze medal.

It marks their third podium finish in the competition following silver in 1991 and another bronze 1999.