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Men's World Cup 2003 - Match description Info

Match description

France beat Serbia & Montenegro 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19) - duration 1:42
29-Nov, start time: 15:00, end time: 16:42 - Attendance: 9,600
Olympic champs join Italy and Brazil at Athens
Serbia and Montenegro, needing only one set to guarantee a top three finish at the 2003 World Cup and qualification for Athens 2004, did it tough but finally claimed their Olympic ticket in a 3-1 loss to France in the Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday.

With France needing straight set victories and for Serbia and Montenegro to stay set-less, the match looked as though France had kept alive their Olympic dream at 2-0, only for the Blue Team to finally kick into gear and claim the third set. Although a 3-0 win to France and a straight sets defeat to Serbia and Montenegro on Sunday will leave the teams equal in third place on points and set ratio, Serbia and Montenegro have a superior points ratio.

In a repeat of the European Championship semifinal, which France won 3-2, the Olympic champions looked lethargic early on as France showed greater desperation on defence and excellent finishing. Some fantastic footwork by libero Hubert Henno and superb defence by Stephane Antiga put France ahead 18-14 before two excellent Antiga spikes put France up 22-16. MIP Frantz Granvorka spiked home to complete an amazing first set.

France's superb form continued in the second set as they opened an 8-7 lead. Antiga was particularly accurate on the spike and pulled off three successive blocks to stretch the gap to 14-9. Vladimir Grbic did his utmost to inject some much-needed urgency with some athletic aerial assaults but France were too good despite more injury woes when Oliver Kieffer sprained his ankle after standing on Mathias Patin's foot. Granvorka's spectacular serve put France ahead 21-18 before Vladimir Grbic served out to finish the set.

France took control of the third set as well before Serbia and Montenegro finally found some spirit and Andrea Geric blocked for a 16-13 lead. Ivan Miljkovic's excellent dig maintained the gap at 20-17 before an Igor Vusurovic spike sealed the set and Serbia and Montenegro's Olympic spot.

France claimed the fourth set but the match was already effectively over.