The French men’s volleyball team got their Nations League off to a perfect start, with a 3-0 victory over reigning European champions Italy in Ottawa, Canada. The Olympic champions will play again this Thursday evening against Serbia.
First victory for Andrea Giani’s men! For his first official match as coach of the France team, the Italian coach was entitled to a special opponent, since it was Italy, reigning European champion. And it was a formality for the Olympic champions, who won 3-0 in Ottawa, the Canadian city which hosts the first group matches of this 2022 Nations League. The Blues won 25-22, 26-24, 25-19 and take the lead in the competition, which will see them play twelve games until July 10in Canada, in the Philippines and in Japan, and where the objective will be to finish in the Top 8 in order to play the quarter-finals in Italy.
The Blues hardly trembled
Carried by its duo Barthélémy Chinenyeze – Earvin Ngapeth, authors of 13 and 11 points respectively, France, which had five Olympic champions in its starting six, plus the Narbonnais Quentin Jouffroy, dominated its opponent without shaking too much. In the first set, the Blues were never led, but never counted more than three points in advance either. And as Italy came back to 21-21, they went 4-1 to finish and pocket the set. In the second, the European champions only led 9-8 then 10-9, but they held on and notably saved three set points from 24-21, before France concluded on their fourth, at 25-24. In the third, Italy proved to be a little more dangerous and led 2-6, but the Blues recovered to 12-12 and then unrolled their volley, to win by six points. So that’s a great victory to start with, even if Kevin Tillie’s injury will be one to watch for the future.
“It was a good match at the start of the tournament, a serious match, we were solid in all areas of the game from start to finish, I’m super happy with the block/defense work we did, we also served very well. It’s a good start to continue our preparation for our two objectives this season, the Final 8 of the VNL and the World Cup, ”said Ervin Ngapeth. Starting this Thursday at 10:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Ottawa time), the Blues will play their second game, against Serbia, who beat Bulgaria 3-1 to start.
French markers: Chinenyeze (13), Ngapeth (11), Patry (8), Jouffroy (7), Brizard (3), Tillie (2), Louati (2)
VOLLEY / LEAGUE OF NATIONS 2022 (H)
From June 7 to July 24 (program in French time)
1- France, 3 points
2- Germany, 3
3- Poland, 3
4- Brazil, 3
5- United States, 3
6- Serbia, 3
7- Japan, 3
8- Iran, 3
9- Bulgaria, 0
10- Netherlands, 0
11- China, 0
12- Italy, 0 >>> automatically qualified for the quarters as host country
13- Slovenia, 0
14- Argentina, 0
15- Australia, 0
Thursday, June 9 (in Ottawa, Canada)
France – Italy: 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-19)
10:30 p.m.: Serbia – France