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France look to clinch first World League win

France celebrate a point in last week's loss away in Italy
Lyon, France, June 9, 2010 – France will play their first home game of the 2010 FIVB World League this weekend as it takes on Serbia in Pool B’s opening match of the weekend at 8.30pm local time on Thursday night in Lyon.

France lost to Serbia twice last year, in Paris and Lievin but France coach Phillipe Blain insists his side is not concerned with the past.

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“We’re not thinking about the past, it is not the same team,” said Blain ahead of Thursday’s match. “But last weekend, the Serbian team played well against China with a good team balance. We should find a solution to avoid the blockers and to put pressure on their reception.”
And Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic was also quick to add that despite past results, his side is still young.

“Two years ago we played France in Lyon in two matches, and the score was tied,” he said before leaving Serbia. “It is obvious that the matches this year will present a great challenge for our young team. With one victory I am sure that we can hope to qualify for the Final Round. However, the most important thing is to play with all our hearts, as we played against China most of the time.

“Opposite to last year, the French team has a wider range of players now, Samica is healthy and Rouzier is looking better each time he plays,” the coach added. “We have seen that in the period of preparation when they managed to win in Poland and also over the first weekend of the World League, especially in the second match in Modena, when they showed a good performance. Obviously, they are very eager to get to the Final Round after many years of absence.”
France will also play Serbia in their second match of the weekend in Grenoble on Saturday at 8pm local time.
France team
Setters: Yannick Bazin, Benjamin Toniutti
Libero: Hubert Henno
Blockers: Oliver Kieffer, Jean-Philippe Sol, Romain Vadeleux
Receivers: Edouard Rowlandson, Baptiste Geiler, Nicolas Maréchal, Earvin Ngapeth, Guillaume Samica
Opposite: Antonin Rouzier
Serbia team
Setters: Vlado Petkovic, Mihajlo Mitic
Libero: Nikola Rosic
Blockers: Dragan Stankovic, Marko Podrascanin, Borislav Petrovic
Receivers: Bjona Janic, Milos Nikic, Nikola Kovacevic, Milos Terzic
Opposites: Sasa Starovic, Aleksandar Atanasijevic


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