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France wins opening match in Pool C

Innsbruck, Austria, September 10, 2011 – After a hard fight, France celebrated a 3-1 victory (25-14, 17-25, 31-29, 28:26) against Finland in the first game of the 2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men. Both teams showed impressive actions following a nervous start in the match.

FraFinland started warm-up almost 20 minutes after France. It took them the same time, til they found their rhythm in the game. France served amazingly, scored four points in the opening set, and won the set easily (25-14). In the second set the momentum changed sides and Finland fought back. Pushed by the Finnish supporters, who were the majority of fans in the “Olympiahalle Innsbruck”, “Suomi” achieved an increase of their passing quality and showed perfect blocking skills (8 kill blocks in 2nd set).

The third set was some kind of “restart” of the match. From this moment on, both teams performed on almost equal level. No surprise that in the following two sets, the teams were just seperated by two points (31-29, 28-26) in the end.

Even as France quickly led by four points in the fourth set (5-1), Finland didn’t give up. Due to some blocks, Finland came back and took the lead (12-10). France responded and showed strong will to win the game in four sets. After France had missed two match balls (24:22), Finland had the chance to turn the match again, but failed.

 

Head coach FRA, Philippe Blain: „I’m happy that we’ve won the first match. Both teams started very nervously. This win can be very important for us. In the future matches we have to use our chances earlier.“

Head coach FIN, Daniel Castellani: „The start was very tough for us, France didn’t give us a chance to find in the match, cause they served and attacked so well. I’m not satisfied with my team’s performance. We need to pass and serve better to be sucessful“

Captain FRA, Pierre Puyol: „This night I will sleep more than four hours. We were really nervous and it took us some time to play constantly. In the fourth set we failed to use the early lead and let Finland come back.“

Topscorer FIN, Anti Siltala: „In the end it was very close and we also could have won the last two sets. Still we played on high level after the first set. That makes me confident for the upcoming matches.

 

FRA - FIN 3-1 (25-14, 17-25, 31-29, 28:26)

FRA: Rouzier 20, Ngapeth 18, Hardy-Dessources 10

FIN: Siltala 16, Oivanen 11, Kunari 10