Brazil saw off Russia to reach the semi-finals ©FIVB

Brazil became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the International Volleyball Federation Men's Under-21 World Championship after beating record-winners Russia in Bahrain.

Today saw the second matches in the second group phase at the Isa Sports City Hall in Riffa with nations across Pools E and F chasing a top-two finish to earn a place in the last four.

The South Americans, who are chasing a fifth title at the age group event, went behind to the Russians but recovered to win 21-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-22.

They are through to the last four after whitewashing China 3-0 in their opening Pool E clash and will have the chance to improve on their fourth-place finishes from the last two tournaments.

Russia, the bronze medallists last time who are aiming for an 11th title and a third victory in the last four editions, had been unbeaten before today's game.

"We played our best volleyball today," said Brazil coach Giovane Gavio.

"Russia is a strong team. 

"I am very happy because we were able to play against a big team quite well."

Italy kept their 100 per cent tournament alive by beating Iran ©FIVB
Italy kept their 100 per cent tournament alive by beating Iran ©FIVB

China recovered from their Brazilian setback with a straight sets win over South Korea which knocks their Asian rivals out of the tournament.

They came through 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 to keep their hopes of a maiden title alive after a bronze in 2015.

The Russians, who beat South Korea in straight sets in their first game, will now take on China in a straight shoot-out for a semi-final place in the last round of group matches tomorrow.

The Brazilians will prepare for the last four against South Korea.

Russia's defeat means Italy remain as the only side left at the tournament with a 100 per cent record after they also won all three of their games in the first group phase.

They beat Iran, who had opened with a victory against Argentina, 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 31-29 but have still not done quite enough to seal their semi-final spot from Pool F.

Argentina gave themselves hope of the next stage by subjecting hosts Bahrain to a second defeat, 25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 25-15.

They will now meet Italy tomorrow with Bahrain, who have not yet been eliminated, taking on Iran.