Curitiba, Brazil, July 8, 2017 - In front of an astonishing crowd of over 23’000 fans, France lifted the FIVB Volleyball World League trophy for the second time of their history, this time prevailing in an epic battle over hosts Brazil 3-2 (21-25, 25-15, 25-23, 19-25, 15-13) with star player Earvin Ngapeth in fine form.
Ngapeth topped even his own numbers as he scored 29 times, while Stephen Boyer chipped in with 18 points and Trevor Clevenot added 12, including the final point. For Brazil, Wallace De Souza and Ricardo Lucarelli paired to collect 22 tallies apiece, as the only two players in double numbers.
France not only finished above all others for their second time, but they also secured a place on the podium for third straight time - following Rio 2015 gold and Krakow 2016 bronze, something done for the last time by Brazil. As for Brazil, it was their sixth time hosting the Finals but they haven’t been able to celebrate on the last three occasions.
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Some rock-solid blocks helped Brazil in the first set, with Mauricio Souza as the best on that element, but France answered with a taste of the hosts’ own medicine and a terrific Ngapeth-Boyer duo. They created a wide 25-15 gap that had Brazil stunned until the endless support of the thousands of fans brought the home team back to life, and although it wasn’t enough to prevent France’s 2-1 lead, it did create the tie-breaker with Lucarelli shining above all others. In the decisive fifth, Ngapeth scored with a dig and Kevin Le Roux’s serves did the rest.