Rouzier shone in the first three sets and finished with a match-high of 23 points for France
Krakow, Poland, September 6, 2014 - In front of a packed Krakow Arena with over 14’000 spectators, France became the first Pool D team to secure a place in the following round of FIVB Men’s World Championship after beating USA 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21).
• France is back on track against USA after two American wins at 2013 World League in Tulsa.
• However, the overall record between them belongs to the American by 17-10.
• It was the first time France lost an opening set in Krakow.
• France is now the only team in Pool D to have earned points in all four matches.
French top scorer Antonin Rouzier once again paced the way for his side, with 23 tallies, helped by Earvin Ngapeth who added 15. Both of them only scored with spikes. For the Americans, Matthew Anderson smashed 21 points and Taylor Sander chipped in with 14.
USA relied on some firm blocks to fully control the first set. Sander, Anderson and Maxwell Holt built up a 12-7 score, and the Americans maintained their hard work in attack to progress until the very end. Anderson showed good skills from both sides of the net (20-15) and he even was in charge of the two final points of the 25-19.
The second set was the exact opposite, as France quickly jumped ahead led by Ngapeth’s clever spikes. The French advantage grew steadily from 10-5 to 20-14 with Rouzier now charging, while USA couldn’t answer. Les Bleus also defended superbly and the crowd went crazy with such outstanding displays. Rouzier kept rolling and Kevin Tillie finished the set by 25-17.
Despite being highly efficient in the second set, it wasn’t enough for Rouzier as he guided France to a 10-5 lead once again. Ngapeth joined and Kevin Le Roux made some heavy damage with three straight aces to 20-11. France even had fun in an amazing atmosphere in Krakow, as the gap remained to place them in front by 25-15.
With Kawika Shoji, Carson Clark and David Smith as starters, USA tried to climb back in the fourth chapter, and the game got tight for a long while. However, it was France who broke free, after a long American spike at 14-12. Toniutti unleashed an unstoppable serve to enhance (18-14) and Tillie underlined the advantage to 21-17. Les Bleus continued their way to the second round as Ngapeth fired a great spike at 25-21.