It was perhaps anticipated that the semifinal Iran-Japan would be a very close game, but the Japanese seemed to move ahead towards an easy win when the score was 13-7 after 20 minutes. However, by the intermission the Iranians had almost caught up (15-16), and then the entire second half was a 'seesaw' battle. Iran scored the final goal for a 30-29 win during the very last minute.
In the final on Saturday, the Iranians will want to seek revenge for the 27-32 loss against Korea in the group play. Korea had absolutely no problem with Saudi Arabia in the other semi-final, winning comfortably with 41-19. Perhaps the Saudis expended all their energy on the final day of the group play, where their fate depended on other teams, or perhaps they simply were not good enough in comparison with the real top teams. But at least they will get a second chance to win against Japan in the bronze medal game.
The women's groups were finalized today, without any surprises. R.O. Korea defeated Kazakhstan with 25-17 and China had the upper hand against Japan, 25-19. This means that the semifinals on Thursday will have the matchups Korea-Japan and China-Kazakhstan. This will be followed by the medal games on Friday, just as for the men.
After the completion of the women's groups, it is now also clear that Taipei and D.P.R. Korea will square off for 5th place, while India and Thailand will play for 7th place. On the men's side, the neighbors Qatar and Bahrain will fight it out for 5th place, whereas China and Kuwait will have to be content with a battle for 7th place.