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Men's World Championship 2002 - Press Info

Match Descriptive

France beat Czech. Republic 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19) - duration 1:43
06-Oct, start time: 16:40, end time: 18:23 - Attendance: 5,200
France in "Elite Eight" after win against Czech Republic
France advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 Men's World Championship after defeating Czech Republic in tight four sets. France finishes on the second position of Pool J now and joins Brazil as the two teams from this group advancing to the Elite Eight of the event.
Both teams made many mistakes at the beginning of the game. The score was completely even until the powerful attack of the Czech team beat the French defense. Czech Republic won the first set of the match that the team of the famous head coach Julio Velasco had to win.
In the second set, the French performance was much better. The team looked more regular in its blocks and showed more efficency in its spikes. The contribution of the French spiker Laurent Capet (four points in this set) was essential for the recovery of his team. France took the second set and was back in the match
The Czech team fought hard in the third set, knowing that France only needed one more set to advance to the next round and leave Czech Republic empty handed. The Czech opposite attacker Jiri Popelka became more important. However, the Czechs made mistakes on crucial moments, so France could clinch the set and secure a quarterfinal spot.
The fourtht set was equal. Being sure of the qualification, the French head coach Philippe Blain made some substitution. Although the Czech team knew it was out of the event, the players never gave up. France ended up by winning the tough match.
The Czech Jiri Popelka was the best scorer with 16 points.
"I have no preferences for our next opponent, because I know they are all very difficult to beat," the French head coach Philippe Blain said.
/ajm