Toniutti leads France's celebrations after winning three from on the opening weekend
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 8, 2017 – France captain Benjamin Toniutti expects no let-up in the challenge his side faces when they take on Russia, Italy and USA in the second week of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League.
Laurent Tillie’s team will return home to Pau having started the tournament in strong form. In week one they enjoyed three wins from three over Bulgaria, Russia and Argentina in Kazan in their opening week, the only Group 1 team to finish with a 100 percent record.
It maintains their form from the European World Championship Qualifiers where they booked their place at the Italy-Bulgaria 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship with a sweep of five victories.
“The start has been very positive,” Toniutti said. “When we went to Russia, we had the goal of winning two games, and we did better with three wins. It's really good, it confirms what we showed at the World Championship qualifiers.”
Russia were left disappointed with their showing at home in Kazan. While they started with a win over Argentina, they slipped to defeat to France and then lost a best of five-set match to Bulgaria.
Italy experienced a similar scenario in front of their fans in Pesaro. After a win over Iran, they lost to world champions Poland and Olympic champions Brazil, in a repeat of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games gold medal match.
Rio 2016 bronze medallists USA lost all three of their matches in Novi Sad, Serbia, against the host nation, Canada and Belgium.
“It will be another level up this weekend,” Toniutti said. “Russia will want to improve and Italy and the USA both need wins if they want to reach the Final Six. The USA will have their backs to the wall and will give everything.
“The competition will definitely be tough. We will prepare for the matches seriously and try to continue our momentum.”