France top Pool E but Poland move on with a hard-fought win


Poland added another win to their run at home but still was France who topped Pool E in Lodz

Lodz, Poland, September 14, 2014 - Even though both teams were already qualified for the next round, Poland and France provided another treat for the fantastic local crowd as the host team earned a final Pool E win by 3-2 (25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12).

Key points

Both teams entered the court with a secured third round place after USA’s defeat against Argentina.

It was the first time France could at least grab a set against Poland at FIVB World Championship matches - Poland won three times in straight sets between 1949 and 1960.

Poland have reached a total of eight wins over nine matches in the tournament. 

France saw their five-games winning streak finished as they failed to improve to a record of six consecutive victories.

With captain Michal Winiarski recovering after his injury against Iran, Mateusz Mika topped the local scorers with 16 points, followed by Mariusz Wlazly with 13. France also had two reserve players atop of the list - Mory Sidibe finished as the main scorer with 21 tallies and Nicolas Marechal chipped in with 15.

Poland subdued France all along the first set, successfully controlling the threat of Antonin Rouzier. Piotr Nowakowski blocked the way to an 11-8 score and Wlazly provided 6 points to solidify the advantage more and more. The host team evolved to 18-13 and another killing block, this time by Karol Klos, drew numbers of 22-16. France closed the set with a service error and Poland celebrated the 25-18.

Laurent Tillie tried with wing spikers Samuele Tuia and Marechal as starters, and Sidibe quickly joined from the bench to place at the helm of a renewed French side (12-8). The opposite was a headache for Poland and, although the noisy crowd tried to spark their favourites back to life, France advanced to 16-11 and 21-18. Sidibe, with his eighth point so far, wrote down the 25-21.

Marechal continued to haunt the Polish defence and he also fired an ace for 12-10 and 18-15 scores, while the local team tried to answer with Wlazly. However, it was Fabian Drzyzga who erased the difference as he connected two aces in a row for an 18-point tie. Michal Kubiak also scored from the service line at 20-19 and Poland got a grip on that lead until the very end. As in the first set, a wrong French serve sealed the set, by 25-23. 

Decided to stay in the game, France was again led by Marechal, with another ace at 4-1 that overpowered his side. Setter Yoann Jaumel blocked despite his height at 11-3 and Les Bleus later progressed to 16-11 and 19-12, with Sidibe back in his best offensive shape. France lost a bit of their focus on reception and Poland took advantage to get closer (23-21), but the comeback never arrived. Sidibe spiked once more and Poland failed for the 25-22.

Block after block, Poland created a 5-3 lead in the final chapter, but the host team went down and Sidibe seized the chance with two kills to 8-6. On another twist, a French spike went long and the game got tied at 10-10, for an intense ending. Marcin Mozdzonek unveiled a firm block over Kevin Le Roux at 14-12 and he pulled out another one over Sidibe for the definitive 15-12.


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