Curitiba, Brazil, July 6, 2017 - After an unpredictable game, France finally succeeded against Serbia, having dropped a 2-0 lead but then reacting on the tie-breaker. French captain Benjamin Toniutti stressed the importance of that return considering their next opponent - Canada will also be a demanding rival.
Benjamin Toniutti, France captain: “We knew that with two sets we would go into the semifinals, so after we achieved them we lost a bit of attention. Besides, they changed the whole team and the players that went inside the court played very well. It was not easy, but it was good for us to come back into the game. We know that we will have a very tough semifinal now - Canada play some really good volleyball and they have been growing on the competition. They are playing better week after week.”
Laurent Tillie, France coach: “We watched the Serbia-USA match yesterday and we saw a very good Serbian team, so we were conscious that qualifying was a difficult task. We started very well, on serving, blocking and especially on defence, but with the 2-0 the energy went down. Maybe they were exhausted, so we tried to win with other players and they did OK, but not enough to win. That’s why the main lineup came back on the fifth set, because we wanted the best possible place on the pool for the semifinals.”
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Nikola Grbic, Serbia coach: “Both yesterday and today, we faced team that played better than us. When we were already out, I tried changing the whole team to see if we had some sort of reaction, and they played without pressure. But well, this is what we can do - most of these guys are the ones that will try to qualify for Tokyo 2020, so we must understand some things and learn from this experience. If we don’t have emotions, blood in our eyes, we can turn into a mediocre team. And we lacked emotions in this tournament.”
Nemanja Petric, Serbia captain: “I’m very disappointed with this game. We had our chance but we didn’t take it. We started in a good pace, but in the first set we stopped and France is a great team - If you let them, they can play amazing volleyball, with a lot of defence and that’s what happened. And on the other side, on the first sets it wasn’t the Serbia everyone knows. Now we must rest and prepare for the European Championship.”