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#VNL 2019: Russia win against France and claim the semifinal

Title-holders Russia destroy in straight sets in one hour and fifteen minutes France (25:16, 25:23, 25:17), as they began their campaign in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals in Chicago with a re-match of last year’s final against France.

Nothing to do for France, who suffered a defeat also against USA on Wednesday. Russia’s coach Tuomas Sammelvuo including four players scoring in double digits, including Ilyas Kurkaev (11), Dmitry Volkov (10), Ivan Iakovlev (10) and Victor Poletaev (10), while Jean Patry and Thibault Rossard scored respectively 13 and 11 points for coach Laurent Tillie’s team. France’s two defeats mean USA and Russia, who both have one victory and a match still to play, are qualified for the semifinals of the 2019 VNL,
like Poland (who won against Iran, collecting their second victory).

Russia reached the Finals with a record of 12 victories from 15 matches and a third place in the Preliminary Round ranking. They take on USA on Friday to decide which team tops the pool.

Russia captain Igor Kobzar: “We are not thinking right now of the continuation of the previous tournament. We are just thinking about the next match. We need to play better each game.

Russia captain Igor Kobzar on what areas the team will need to improve on: “All the components and to play better.”

France head coach Laurent Tillie: “It is all about experience. Experience is a badge of development. Yes, we were terribly disappointed because we were thinking of our results. We needed more time to recover from the VNL qualification in Brazil. In sport you learn humility and it is important. We don’t have a big amount of players. We have to work better. We have to be ready to fight for each ball. Mentally we need full strength. Today was too much.”

France captain Benjamin Toniutti: “I think the difference was everything today. They destroyed us. There is nothing more to say. We are not playing well. We cannot be happy with our performance during this Final Six as we didn’t play our best volleyball even if we missed a lot of important players. We have to play better. Now we come back to France, and work as we have a big tournament in almost a month for Olympic qualification. We just have to come back to France and work really hard and be ready for this competition.

France captain Benjamin Toniutti: “It was good for us because a lot of players started to play some important games in the national team. So the VNL was good for us for this reason.”

2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Final Six:
Match 3:
Poland – Iran 3-1 (21:25, 25:18, 25:20, 25:22)
Match 4:
Russia – France 3-0 (25:16, 25:23, 25:17)

Match 1:
Brazil – Poland 2-3 (23:25, 25:23, 21:25, 25:21, 9:15)
Match 2:
USA – France 3-1 (25:16, 25:22, 23:25, 25:21)

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