Curitiba, Brazil, July 4, 2017 - Things were very complicated for France at several moments of their match against USA, to the point that coach Laurent Tillie admitted he thought the win was far away from their hands, but in the end Les Bleus celebrated after five exciting sets.
Laurent Tillie, France coach: “I have to say I don’t know how we won tonight, because the first and fifth set looked like they were on the pockets of the US team. I saw a lot of frustration on my team; USA were playing really well and we wanted to play like at a show instead of doing it with efficiency. Fortunately, the bench brought solutions for the match. Now we have to refocus for the next game against Serbia and keep thinking forward.”
Benjamin Toniutti, France captain: “For sure we’re happy about the victory, but also because I think we didn’t play our best volleyball. It was a difficult game as the quality of team USA is huge. I also see as a good thing that we were able to come back on the first and fifth set - this is good for our future at the competition, but at the same time if we want to stay until the end, we have to play better.”
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Kawika Shoji, USA captain: “My congratulations to France. I think it was a difficult match for both teams, there was a lot of ups and downs, first time playing in such a big stadium… But it was also a very competitive match, both teams fought hard and I’m proud of my guys for staying together and keeping the fight after dropping a big lead on the first set.”
John Speraw, USA coach: “I’m obviously disappointed - If we look back at that first set, we were up 20-15 and we ended up with a little regret for not closing it. I do believe we improved a lot over the last five or six weeks, and as a proof of that today we played against France better than on pool play. However, we didn’t take care of a couple of situations on our side and we lost the match, but we still have an opportunity ahead of us and if we do it better, we can make it into the semifinals.”