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Varna, Bulgaria, July 10, 2015 – Argentina could not overcome the undefeated record team of this FIVB World League 2015 all Intercontinental Round (12 matches) and today’s semi-final and therefore Bulgaria vs. France is the final of Group 2. Argentina will face in its last match at the competition Belgium this Saturday 11.30 Argentine time – live broadcast by TyCSports. The French team did not face too many issues in Friday’s second semifinal in Varna, cruising to a swift 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-17) victory over Argentina. Antonin Rouzier contributed 20 points to become the best scorer of the match not allowing Argentina to show any of their skills. His team mate Earvin Ngapeth added another 12 for France while Facundo Conte was Argentina’s top scorer with 9 points.

The main differences were blocking 11-6 and serving 5-1 while France established total control over the completely one-sided first set. Led by a prolific Antonin Rouzier, the European team cruised to a speedy 25-13 win, shaped up by Rouzier himself scoring the last point. Argentina were the team that most Bulgarian fans seemed to have picked as the desired opponent for the home side in Saturday’s final and were noisily rooting for them from the stands at the Palace of Culture and Sports. This may have inspired Julio Velasco’s boys to hold up through 14-14 in the second set, but then Rouzier, Ngapeth and company broke away again to win by 25-20 and double their lead.

Despite the fighting spirit that Argentina put on display, the story of the third set was similar to the one from the first. France was simply the better squad on the court, took an early lead and never looked back. A double block by Antonin Rouzier and Kev

in Le Roux put an end to the set at 25-17 and the match at 3-0.

Press Conference:

Benjamin Toniutti, captain of France: ”We know we needed to mobilize in order to survive against Argentina. We knew we needed to serve well to achieve a good result. After that our block started working well and we won. The hardest thing now is to forget this match and concentrate for tomorrow.”

Julio Velasco, coach of Argentina: ”Today there was a big difference between the two teams. France gave us a lesson how to play volleyball. They did everything on court, we did nothing. Their serve was good, but this is only one of the elements. The fast attack worked well, the defence-block system too. Argentina has to develop further to go for the level of France. The most important is the change of mentality. We made a few steps and we have a lot more to go.”

Laurent Tillie, coach of France: ”We are not good at blocking, so we tried to touch every ball to give our defence the opportunity to process it. We have a fantastic Antonin Rouzier - serving and attacking well, Benjamin Toniutti setting great, our passing was good... Tomorrow will be a completely different match we now have to prepare for.”

Jenia Grebennikov, libero of France: ”We served and blocked really well, everything was positive for us tonight. Tomorrow we will need to be focused on reception, because Bulgaria serve very well. Nikolay Nikolov served really well today and I hope he does not serve like that tomorrow.”


• These teams have met 18 times before in World League history (all Intercontinental Round matches). France have won on 10 occasions. Argentina are on eight victories.

• France have won five of their last six World League matches against Argentina.

• Last season, Benjamin Toniutti (FRA), Baptiste Geiler (FRA) and Jenia Grebennikov (FRA) played at German side Friedrichshafen alongside Maximiliano Gauna (ARG).


• France are seeking their first World League silverware since 2006, when they lost 3-2 against Brazil in the gold medal match.

• Last year, France failed to reach the Final Six (Group 1) after losing to Australia in the Final Four final (Group 2).

• France are the only unbeaten team left in the 2015 World League (12 wins).

• France are unbeaten in their last 12 World League matches (all this season), their longest winning streak ever in the competition.

• France have conceded 499 sets and can become the sixth team to lose 500 sets in World League history.


• Argentina are still without silverware in the World League (17 appearances). Their best finish in the competition was their fourth place in 2011.

• Argentina have won four of their last five World League matches. Their only defeat in this run came last week against Bulgaria (3-0) in Varna.

• Argentina have lost three of their last four World League matches played in Varna, all in straight sets.

• Argentina have won only two of their 13 World League matches beyond the Intercontinental Round and are winless in their last five since a straight-sets victory over Bulgaria in the 2011 Final Round.