Turin, Italy, September 27, 2010 - France defeated China in straight sets (25-17, 25-20, 25-19) to win Pool E of the 2010 FIVB Men's World Championship in Turin on Monday.
France, who now advance to Milan for the second round as the top seed in Pool E, went undefeated in three matches in Turin. They will play Pool D's second-placed team, Argentina, on September 30 to open the second round before facing Pool D's third-placed team Japan. China finished without a win and are eliminated from the tournament.
France's victory was a squad effort: 11 of their 12 players were suited for the match and eight different players contributed at least one point. Oliver Kieffer totalled 11 points, while Nicolas Marechal chipped in with 10. China's Ping Chen had a team-high 11 points, while Weijun Zhong collected seven points in the loss.
France did well at the service line with a 7-1 ace advantage, in addition to holding the blocking edge at 9-6. The Europeans also had a 51-33 spike advantage in converting 49 percent of their attacks to China's 36 percent.
China bolted to a 5-1 lead in the opening set with a strong block. However, France responded immediately to tie the set at 6-6 on a Kieffer ace. At the First Technical Timeout (FTT), France held an 8-7 lead through a Gerald Hardy-Dessources spike. They then extended their lead to 15-9 with two blocks from Kieffer, a block from Hardy-Dessources and a spike by Marechal.
China clipped two points off the deficit as France went into the Second Technical Timeout (STT) up at 16-11. When Earvin Ngapath then pocketed an ace, China called a timeout but the French eased to victory at 25-17. Antonin Rouzier had tallied five points in the opening set while his team registered three aces.
France picked up five of the first seven points of the second set before China cut the gap to 5-4. However, Philippe Blain's men regained a three-point cushion at 7-4 on a Ngapeth spike. They reached the STT with a 16-9 advantage, before China battled back to within three points at 17-14 following an ace from Hongmin Bian. France responded with four of the next six points for a 21-16 lead before finishing off the set. The French, who had five blocks in the second set, mixed the scoring between eight different players as each picked up at least one point in the second set.
France reached the FTT of the third set with a slim 8-7 advantage before opening up a 13-10 margin leading to a China timeout. China coach Jianan Zhou's words got a reaction as China tied the score at 13-13 with a Shuai Jiao block, and then went in front 16-15 at the STT through a Zhong block. France regained the lead at 18-17 with a Kieffer ace, however, and they added to the advantage at 19-17 through a Chinese error. With France 21-18 up, we had a China timeout but it proved to no avail as the French scored four of the final five points, including a Marechal ace to seal the win.
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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