Paris, France, July 3, 2009 - Serbia beat France in
Paris-Bercy 4-0 (25-22, 25-21, 15-21, 25-19) on Friday to take the Pool B lead
from the French.
The teams square off again on Sunday in Liévin, while
fellow Pool B participants Korea and Argentina play Saturday and Sunday.
Serbia started the match by taking a two-point lead, 3-1,
and never allowed France to get back into the set. Serbia led 8-6 at the first
TTO and increased its advantage at the second TTO with a gap of four points.
Serbia played without pressure and France fell behind
with many mistakes on digs. French spiker Loïc Geiler (7 points) was the top scorer at that point but Serbia played better and led 20-14. After a timeout at 13-19, the Blues
found solutions to reduce the gap before the money-time. The French made it
20-22 and the spectators hoped for a happy end. But Serbia concluded the set
25-22 in 25 minutes.
The second set started at the same tempo. Serbian players
took an 8-5 advantage into the first TTO. France, with the support of the fans,
tried to stay close but Serbia managed the pressure well. Serbia led 16-11 and
19-15 before France came back to make it 19-21 when Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic
decided to take his first timeout. At this point Serbia led France in blocks,
8-4, and Ivan Milijkovic made it 9 with a fantastic block to finish off the
set, 21-25 for Serbia, also in 25 minutes.
French fans were waiting for a reaction in Bercy Temple.
And for the first time in this match, France took the lead, 2-1. Roles were
reversed in the third frame, with Serbia making 10 mistakes, while France made
none. France cruised to a 25-15 victory in 22 minutes, and held on to a sliver
of hope that they could win the match and retain first place in the pool.
France had one more chance to equalize in the fourth set.
Both teams stayed even until 9-10, when Serbia stretched the lead and entered
the second TTO up 16-11. Serbia maintained their advantage and kept the hosts
at bay to win the set 25-19.