San Juan, Argentina, July 16th, 2009 – The heart and claws of the young and new courageous Argentine National Men Team could be seen tonight when they defeated the strong France 3-1 (28-26, 25-21, 21-25, 25-28). On a sunny but cold day outside the stadium, inside the nerves of both teams, trying to thwart the other one on its qualification towards the “Final Six” of the 2009 World League, added to the overcrowded field with 9,000 local fans, made the atmosphere feel very hot. Argentina and the visiting team of France are playing do-or-die contest against each other and they depend on their performance and what team can maintain the calmness more to get the first three points of the last weekend of the Intercontinental Round and be nearer the ticket direct to Beograd, Serbia.
The first set starts level as a “final” pool series deserves. Each team scores one point after the other until Argentina with two outstanding blockings got the first three points difference 5-2 when Philippe Blain requested his first early TO. An unstoppable spike of Rodrigo Quiroga, from San Juan and Captain of the team, got to the 1st. TTO 8-4. Despite coming from behind, France never left fighting and an ace of Baptiste Geiler level the set 12-12. With their lead 12-13, it is Javier Weber who asks one of his TO. Again, Argentina obtains the lead 15-14 but the visiting team reaches ahead the 2nd. TTO 15-16. The tussle goes on without any of the teams getting a good difference to rest and the lead changes hands and stands 21-19 when Blain requests his second TO. Level again 21-21, it goes on so until finishing with Quiroga great spike 28-26.
Nothing changes at the beginning of the second set with both teams getting one point after the next until non-forced errors of France gives the first wider lead to the local team 6-3. The 1st. TTO is reached 8-5. The longest rally of the match is won by Scholtis spike putting the set 10-6. After the score coming and going Weber asks a TO 13-12. Level at several stages the 2nd. TTO arrives 15-16. But this terrific tied set goes on with the lead changing hands on diverse occasions. Blair asks one of his TO 21-19. Another long rally, a blocking and the French coach requests his second TO 23-19. Javier Filardi replaces Guillermo Garcia 24-20 but misses serving and the set closes 25-21.
The equality of both teams is clearly again seen in the score parity of the third set as it was on the first two. France gets a 2 point lead 2-4 but it lasts little. Garcia’s ace levels at 5-5. Nine thousand throats shouting “Argentina” and the local team confidence allows it to arrive to the 1st. TTO 8-5. Quiroga goes on being the star when it seems France levels the set. The excitement does not stop when Weber needs to ask a TO 9-10. With Geiler serving France gets the widest lead until now, 11-14 and the 2nd. TTO arrives 12-16. Even though both teams keep scoring the difference is maintained. First 14-18 to become 15-20. Emotion is lived when Blain asks one of his TO 18-20. Vadeleux scores the point 24 with a powerful ace and the set finishes 21-25.
The equality goes on at the fourth set but Argentina arrives to the 1st. TTO leading 8-4. The local team does not want to disappoint its fans, the coaching team and themselves and all their proud shows up with a lot of aggressiveness. Blain asks his first TO 15-11 and soon comes the 2nd. TTO 16-11. The fans get frenetic with the score 20-15, not to talk when the score shows 23-17. All stand up and a French mistakes gives Argentina the first match ball 24-17 to end 25-18.