Curitiba, Brazil, July 8, 2017 - 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League had its grand finale on Saturday as France spoiled the party planned by the more than 23’000 fans that filled the Arena da Baixada stadium to see their beloved Brazil as winners. Les Bleus netted their second World League gold medal after a thrilling five-setter over the host team, while Canada were the other major winner of the final day by stepping onto the podium for the very first time, over USA.
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The ultimate match put the endurance of the supporters under trial as it was a tremendous clash between the best two teams of the tournament. Rallies lived up to the expectations and the plot was unpredictable as France recovered from a deficit in the decisive set to win 3-2 (21-25, 25-15, 25-23, 19-25, 15-13) led by hero and MVP Earvin Ngapeth.
Ngapeth bested his own numbers as he scored 29 times, trailed by Brazil’s Wallace De Souza and Ricardo Lucarelli, both with 22 points apiece but as the only players in the home team to reach double numbers. On the other side of the net, Ngapeth not only had better backups but he also shone brighter than the rest as he was distinguished as the Most Valuable Player of 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League.
Prior to the final match and spurred by 13 points of John Gordon Perrin, Canada wrapped up a marvelous World League campaign by seizing the bronze medal after coming from behind for a 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21) win over USA on Saturday evening opener.
A fantastic all-around performance was what allowed Canada to climb back after losing the first set, with Perrin, Sharone Vernon-Evans, Graham Vigrass and bench player Ryley Barnes as the scoring force that changed the tide of the game. The access to the podium also meant a huge improvement from the 13th place they occupied on 2016.
MVP: Earvin Ngapeth (France)
Best Outside Hitters: Ricardo Lucarelli (Brazil) & Earvin Ngapeth (France)
Best Middle-Blockers: Graham Vigrass (Canada) & Kevin Le Roux (France)
Best Libero: Blair Bann (Canada)
Best Setter: Benjamin Toniutti (France)
Best Opposite: Wallace De Souza (Brazil)