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Argentina closed an outstanding campaign at the FIVB World League 2014

Paris, France, June 29, 2014 - After stunning France 3-2 two days ago, Argentina had to beat the Frenchmen again on Sunday but with no tiebreaker, to finish on top of the Pool D table and therefore qualify for the World League Group 2 Final Four in Sydney, Australia (11-13 July). But the squad coached by Laurent Tillie, who had won both games in Argentina last month, out powered the South Americans to claim a 3-1 victory (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16) to get the ticket for the Final Four competition. The French will now travel to Australia to try to qualify for the Final Six in Firenze (16-20 July). The Argentineans Federico Pereyra and Sebastian Sole (14 rallies) were the top scorers of the game. Mory Sidibe scored 13 rallies for France, while Nicolas Le Goff and Antonin Rouzier added 12 more each.

For Argentina, coached for the first time by Julio Velasco, who made several changes on all weekends but the one in Japan, the main goal of this competition was fulfilled, “To get to know and evaluate as many players as possible thinking on the World Championship that starts end of August in Poland”. With 8 victories, 7 consecutive and 5 as away team and as best second runner-up with 25 points of all Pools A-F, even though most did not finish only Iran in Pool A could level Argentine’s final score.

Both teams struggled on their serve in the opening points of the game. And if Argentina managed to take a 2-points lead at 7-5, France quickly came back and even made the first break to take a 13-10 lead after a too-long spike by Javier Filardi. The visiting team managed to even the game at 19-19, but the Frenchmen stayed strong to claim the set by 25-21 on a block by their captain Benjamin Toniutti.

In the second set the South Americans, coming back very motivated and not even thinking on losing attitude, took an early lead at 7-4. But then Antonin Rouzier and his team-mates didn’t waste time to recover, tying the game at 10-10, Argentina stayed on top before France came back again at 19-19, with another Rouzier’s spike. Then, the home team scored four points in a row to get four set balls at 24-20. The Argentineans saved two before Samuele Tuia made the Paris crowd erupt and send his side to Sydney after scoring the last point (25-22).

The atmosphere was obviously less competitive in the third and fourth sets. Both coaches made several changes, especially Laurent Tillie. And the Argentineans, who were trailing 14-17, stormed back to win the fourth set 25-23 but France finished stronger, winning the last set 25-16 with a spike by Earvin Ngapeth.

Press Conference:

France coach Laurent Tillie:"I am very satisfied with the spirit of the team and the display today. It was very important to qualify, and Argentina put pressure on us till the last week of action. We have to improve in many areas. And now we have to win three games in Australia."

France captain Benjamin Toniutti:"We were upset with the way we lost on Friday. We weren’t used to lose anymore. We are very happy with the victory and the qualification. We won 10 games out of 12, it’s a great performance. Now, we must get prepared for Australia."

Argentina coach Julio Velasco: "It was a very important victory for France. We didn’t play well today. And France made less mistakes than on Friday. We couldn’t play at the same level and we made too many mistakes. It was impossible to win."

Argentina captain Javier Filardi:"Congratulations to France for the victory and the qualification. We had a good World League but we will now try to get better for the World Championships in Poland."

(FIVB World League 2014 Official Website)
(Photos FeVA)