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Eurovolley Pool A: France write down 3-0 win, Ngapeth plays as libero. Bulgaria-Portugal 3-1.

France wrote down their second victory in as many games in Pool A, at home in Montpellier. They surpassed Greece in front of about 6,000 fans at the Sud de France Arena, which was larger attendance compared to their opener against Romania, two days ago. France scored a clear 3-0 victory, only having some problems in third set when their head coach Laurent Tillie decided to give the chance to some bench players like Chinenyeze and Brizard. Earvin Ngapeth, for whom it was said that he was not fully ready to play first three matches of EuroVolley due to injury, was on the court today after all. He performed as a libero in the second and third set (was registered as libero in the opener as well but did not go in). Stephen Boyer was unstoppable: he scored 25 points (66% attack success rate), while Kévin Tillie made 90% positive reception (10 digs, 60% excellent). Nikos Zoupani scored 13 points for Greece.

Reactions:
Laurent Tillie – France’s coach
There was a lot of quality tonight. I think we really managed to analyse the Greek’s setter’s game. He played well yesterday against Italy but we read him well tonight. In the third set, I felt we lost the rhythm so I proceeded to some substitutions. I really believe our pool is the hardest of all.”

Athana Protopsaltis – Greece’s outside hitter
We played against two amazing teams yesterday and today, with different styles though. Tonight, the crowd was full and pushing everyone to play better. We fought from the beginning to the end. Of course, France is a better team and won but we wanted to know how far we were from them. The next matches are the ones we have targeted.”

After trailing behind most of the first set, Bulgaria eventually prevailed in four sets over Portugal. Tsvetan Sokolov was top scorer of the match with 33 points while Alexandre Ferreira scored 22 for Portugal

Reactions:
Alexandre Ferreira – Portugal’s captain
I feel tired! All the games we’ve against Bulgaria in the past few years were good games. Our first victory at the VNL was gaainst them. We are getting better match after match, and that is our first goal.

Tsvetan Sokolov – Bulgaria’s opposite
This is really a big win against a difficult opponent to plays really good in defence and block. We are looking forward and I am really happy. I know Alexandre Ferreira well from our time at Trentino Volley, he is a really good player so it was interesting to play against him – but I am happy that I win!

Silvano Prandi – Bulgaria’s head coach
It was a bad game on our side, but I think we need to be courageous to win a match when playing badly, and we did.”

Todor Skrimov – Bulgaria’s outside hitter
It was a very difficult match. We often led the game but they always came back because we lost our focus. We shouldn’t do that against Italy and France otherwise we might lose.

2019 CEV European Volleyball Championship, pool stage – Day 3:

POOL A (Montpellier, France)
Greece – France 0-3 (14:25, 18:25, 24:26)
Bulgaria – Portugal 3-1 (25:23, 28:30, 25:23, 25:22)

POOL B (Brussels & Antwerp, Belgium)
Germany – Belgium 2-3 (23:25, 17:25, 25:22, 25:15, 13:15)
Slovakia – Austria 3-1 (19:25, 25:20, 25:21, 25:15)

POOL C (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
North Macedonia – Russia 0-3 (15:25, 16:25, 28:30)
Slovenia – Finland 3-1 (25:18, 26:24, 24:26, 25:15)

POOL D (Rotterdam & Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
Ukraine – Netherlands 0-3 (26:28, 27:29, 21:25)
Estonia – Montenegro 0-3 (23:25, 28:30, 23:25)

Source and photos: CEV

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