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Bydgoszcz, Poland, September 10, 2014 – France asserted its dominance over Argentina 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 29-27, 25-18) in the opening clash of Pool E of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship at the Luczniczka Hall on Wednesday.

Key Points

• France’s Earvin Ngapeth topped all scorers with 21 points, while Sebastian Sole was the top scorer for Argentina with 12 points.

• A big discrepancy on the attack helped France in their win against Argentina 66-44.

• Five players from the French side scored in double digits.

• Conte was held to score just 10 points in the match.

The first set of play ensued on a point-by-point exchange by both squads until Argentina took a three-point advantage 12-9 that continued until 14-11. The Argentine lead ballooned further at 18-13, forcing French coach Laurent Tillie to call for timeout. After a run of three strong serves from outside hitter Ngapeth, France narrowed the gap to within just three points 20-17. Jose Luis Gonzalez and Sole unleashed superb attacks to help close the first set 25-20.

France jumped to an 8-5 lead and carried on that momentum to pull through and dominate the second technical timeout 16-10. The change in the front-liners of Argentina somehow affected the tempo of the game but in a way they managed to cut a small chunk of the lead. Nicolas Le Goff nailed the second set point in favour of France 25-17.

France had another great display in the third set and led 16-13 after a brilliant block by Antonin Rouzier and Ngapeth. The three points were suddenly wiped out as Argentina tied the match at 21-all. The dink of Nicolas Le Goff gave a set point to France 24-23 but Argentina persistently challenged them to extend the set. Both teams closely fought for the deadlock at 27-all. France won another point until a great save from Jenia Grebennikov set up Ngapeth for the kill to give France the 2-1 set advantage with the score at 29-27.

France showed their confidence and calmness in their offence that gave them a comfortable 16-8 advantage. The Argentines fought hard but could not match the skill quality that the Frenchmen were showing. Argentina’s defence could not hold the strong attacks of France that allowed the latter to secure the set and match 25-18.

Press Conference:

France coach Laurent Tillie:“Our determination was the key factor to this victory. The change in the players during the game was also a good decision, when Nicolas Marechal entered the court; our setter immediately adjusted the play to his style. We were very lucky to win the third set, we had some good moments to end it but we did not use them. Normally, if you don’t make use of these opportunities, you lose. This time we had more luck and got the victory.”

France captain Benjami Toniutti:“If we want to win every game, we have to play better. It was not an easy game. Argentina played a lot of middle block to which we can’t find any solution. In the near future, we have to make less mistakes than we did in this match, especially on service”.

Argentina coach Julio Velasco: “The key set was the first one when France had a problem with their attack but we did not change our defence, which obviously was our tactical mistake. We should have used this opportunity but our counter-attack was not as successful as it should be. France used six tips and won some points, we were not able to do the same”.

“I am not lucky because the next matches will be against Iran and Italy, and I used to work for these countries as a coach. I left Iran only because I was called to coach my homeland Argentina. I have a lot of friends from these countries and I still feel a bond with them. However, tomorrow they will be my opponents”.

Argentina captain Javier Filardi:“We played well during the first two sets, the other two were unfortunately not the best, we could have played it better though. During the first set, we could not make use of some very important balls, unlike the French team who were able to use them to their advantage”.

Bydgoszcz Pool E Argentine matches

Wed 11.30 - Argentina v France 1-3 (Info)

Thu 11.30 - Argentina v Iran

Sat 11.30 - Argentina v Italy

Sun 11.30 Argentina v USA