French super-scorer Antonin Rouzier was unstoppable once again with 22 conquests
Lodz, Poland, September 13, 2014 - A sloppy start wasn’t enough to stop the triumphant march of France, as Les Bleus regained their best output to defeat Serbia 3-1 (25-27, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20) and stand closer than ever to their third round ticket. Serbia, on the other hand, is already out of the tournament.
• France built a six-games winning streak for the first time in their history at the tournament.
• It was their third showdown at FIVB World Championship matches.
• Serbia still lead in the overall head-to-head record by 27-16.
• France may seal their third round spot if Poland defeat Iran in the next match in Lodz.
Tournament’s best scorer Antonin Rouzier achieved another tremendous game as he topped the charts with 22 points, joined by Earvin Ngapeth who provided 18. Aleksandar Atanasijevic unleashed 19 tallies for an eliminated Serbia, while Srecko Lisinac and Nikola Kovacevic contributed with 14 points apiece.
Once again, Atanasijevic built the foundations for Serbia in the first set. The opposite created a gap at 6-3 that persisted all the way through, despite the French resistance. Lisinac helped with some blocks and Milos Nikic did well on passing and attacking, en-route to 16-12 and 21-19 scores. France tied the game at 24-all with Ngapeth, but Atanasijevic chained a spike and a block for the 27-25.
Absolutely opposite was the second act, as Rouzier finally appeared and pushed France to several leads. However, Serbia fought back and stayed always a couple of points at range from Les Bleus. It wasn’t until the final track that France escaped, with Tillie and Rouzier teaming up for 22-19 numbers. Benjamin Toniutti sealed the set by 25-23.
Both teams not only were leveled in the overall score but also along the next set, until Atanasijevic, after a slow second chapter, showed all of his might and slightly carried Serbia in front at 13-11. France remained close and was able to equal at 19-19 with Rouzier, and then a key entrance from Nicolas Marechal allowed a 22-21 for the Frenchmen. Serbia had no answer and Ngapeth smashed another 25-23.
Even though Nikic paved the way to an early 8-6, France got a grip on the score after some Serbian errors (13-11). Ngapeth took care of holding that lead and Rouzier chipped in with an ace at 21-18, making things almost impossible for Serbia. Ngapeth repeated the damage at 23-19, Nicolas Le Goff blocked the next ball and he spiked the final 25-20.