Tokyo, Japan, June 4, 2016 – France routed Venezuela 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-11, 20-25, 15-9) at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
A group of French fans cheered for their team as they captured the Olympic ticket after their victory in the third set, led by Antonin Rouzier, who scored a total of 17 markers – all from the attack line. The losing side had an extensive distribution of points from Emerson Rodriguez, Johnlenn Barreto and Willner Rivas, who scored 16, 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Venezuela matched-up well with France at the start of the first set, as Barreto making his presence felt on offence. France tried to make a run but could not really pull away as Venezuela challenged them in every play. The European side only managed to get a three-point cushion at 21-18 that forced Venezuela to take a timeout. Nicolas Le Goff was able to give France set point, then Rivas gave away the point to France to seize the first set 25-21. Barretto got more support from his team-mates Jesus Chouriou, Rodriguez and Rivas to challenge the formidable French side. Venezuela took the lead at 7-6, until Rouzier tied the score at 10-all. France only led by as much as three points at 18-15, but Venezuela did not give up until Kervin Pinerua pinned down an attack that levelled the score at 23-all. Venezuela came out on top of the second set 25-23 from an ace by Chourio and an attack error from Rouzier.
France reorganised their offence in the third set and took a big lead 16-7 at the second technical timeout. France setter Benjamin Toniutti set-up Rouzier and Le Roux to score valuable points in the set, then excellently blocked Barreto to give France a 10-point advantage 17-7. France cruised to an easy victory in the third set 25-14 and guarantee their Rio 2016 Olympic ticket. France coach Laurent Tillie fielded in his second six in the fourth set. Venezuela showed a spirited performance against the European side and led 20-16. After a point-by-point exchange, Venezuela seized the set 25-20.
Olympic Qualification Process
In the fifth set, the French second six, headed by Rossard Thibault and Nicolas Marechal, managed to run better offence than the previous set. Although Venezuela made some strong plays, France kept a comfortable margin that led to their set and match triumph at 15-9.