Harnes, France, May 14, 2016 – France triumphed 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-21) over Iran to win the friendly series at Harnes on Saturday.
After their beautiful 3-1 win in Tourcoing, allowing coach Laurent Tillie to utilise his bench players on Friday, France had a slow start and trailed the Asian side 11-14. Nicolas Le Goff and Antonin Rouzier helped out to fuel the French run and succeeded as they tied the score at 15-all. Rouzier’s aggressiveness on the attack allowed the French side to gain momentum and the lead 22-18. The European Championship MVP was unstoppable and closed the opening set 25-20.
Iranian opposite Amir Ghafour led at the start of the second set but the Frenchmen implemented an efficient service strategy that allowed them to stay within striking distance. Kevin Tillie’s attack gave France a two-point cushion at the second technical timeout. Rouzier once again got into his scoring rhythm and extended the gap 23-19, until an ace sealed the second set victory for France 25-19.
France coach Laurent Tillie fielded in Trevor Chey, Horacio de Almeida, Franck Lafitte, Pierre Pujol, Julien Lyneel and Thibault Rasigatale in the third set. After they posted an 8-5 lead in the first technical timeout, the French players started to convert their attacks and build a wider gap at 16-11. Pujol steered his attackers to maintain their lead and seized set and match victory at 25-21.
“I’m happy with the players’ performance,” coach Tillie said. “We didn’t have the right rhythm in the warm-up but the players were fine and they were able to show better form on their block. It is nice to see everyone is in tune and paying attention to the instructions before the game.”
The coach also confirmed after the match that Stephen Boyer, Antoine Brizard and Julien Lyneel will not join the squad for the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan.
The team will go back to Tourcoing to continue with their preparations until May 19. Earvin Ngapeth and Mory Sidibe will arrive on Sunday to join the training.