The French team perfectly launched its Volleyball World Championship. The Blues won their first three games to finish the group stage in first place in Group D and secure qualification for the round of 16. Fifth in the combined ranking, they have an appointment with Japan in a remake of the quarter-final of the last League of Nations.
They overcame Germany and Cameroon in three sets and overthrew Slovenia, co-organizer of the planetary meeting, in a spectacular match.
The teammates ofEarvin Ngapeth assert themselves as favorites to the succession of Poland, double-holder of the title. And not only because they started the summer with a victory in the League of Nations. The French Olympic champions managed a successful first World Championship with a lot of character in the important moments. Not always sovereign, they always knew how to find the solution to remain undefeated by dropping only two sets along the way. A real asset with this format where every round counts.
Overview of the first matches and what could await the Blues in their quest for a first world title.
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The French saved three match points against Slovenia
Andrea Giani’s men began their campaign with a three-set victory over the gripping Germans (25-22, 28-26, 26-24). In particular, they needed to save two set points in the second set to keep an immaculate record until the first real test of the competition.
On the second day, France faced Slovenia who played at home in the Stozice Arena in Ljubljana. The Blues were able to draw on their resources to win this perilous match in five sets (25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 34-32, 15-7) and ensure qualification in the round of 16. The Tricolores led two sets to one and even found themselves with their backs to the wall when they had to save three match points to bring down the European vice-champions. They were able to count on the defensive contribution of Kevin Tillie but especially on the exploits of Earvin Ngapeth to win a second victory in a boiling atmosphere.
As in the first match, the player from Modena was the best French scorer. He was able to make the difference late in the game to finish with 29 points. The recent Volleyball Nations League Final 8 MVP scored six of the fifteen French points in the deciding set. His individual exploits have as often sublimated the French collective.
Another French player has proven that he is capable of raising his level when the tension rises: Barthelemy Chinenyeze. He was the second best French scorer before the meeting against Cameroon where some executives were spared. The central had a decisive contribution in the end of the set of the match against Germany and was very effective against Slovenia
During the final pool match against Cameroon, they were perfectly replaced by Stephane Boyer and Yacine Louati. The Blues remained serious for their last match by winning in three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-22), in order to be certain of appearing well in the combined classification of the preliminary round.
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” You have to be careful “
From now on, adversity will go up a notch. The Habs will no longer have the right to make mistakes as the knockout phase looms. They won Japan in the Round of 16, an opponent who beat Qatar and Cuba to finish second in Group B behind Brazil.
The French had beaten the Japanese selection in three sets in the quarter-finals of the Nations League earlier this summer.
If they manage to get rid of this adversary, the last obstacle before the last four will be the winner of the Cuba – Italy duel. A real challenge! Italy are yet to drop a set and finished the preliminary round in first place in the combined standings.
The Blues have already proven that they have the qualities to find the solution in all situations, even the most complicated. It’s up to them to confirm it when the stakes go up
“It’s good on the one hand, because we have the resources to get out of these situations, but on the other hand you have to pay attention to these beginnings of sets, these small hollows”, said John Patry a The Team after the first game.
This ability to get out of it will be essential for the next matches, those which will decide if France will climb on the roof of the world thanks to the rise in power initiated during the first three matches.
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