San Juan, Argentina, July 17th, 2009 – In a terrific match decided on the fourth set, Argentina won the ticket to Serbia in a match that ended 3-2 (32-30, 22-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7). With volleyball fans cramped in every little possible place at Aldo Cantoni San Juan Stadium, the last match of the Intercontinental Round of the 2009 FIVB World League in Pool B between Argentina and France making history in Argentinean Volleyball, qualifying for the first time the National Men Team to the Final Six Series. Until now, Brazil in Pool D was the first one to qualify, together with Serbia (as host organizer – Pool B). USA and Italy are fighting to clinch a place in Pool A as Russia and Cuba are doing it in Pool C, added to FIVB Wild Card, that will be known when the sixth and Final First Round weekend ends.
With a straight 4-0 Argentina starts the first set when Philippe Blain asks his first TO but the local team is very confident on their output and the 1st. TTO arrives 8-4 very quickly. All mainstays are positive points for Argentina, included two consecutive aces and the fans cheering does not stop at any time. Argentina nearly doubles all the time the points scored by France arriving to the 2nd. TTO 16-10 after a reaction of the French team that brings the score to 22-20 when Javier Weber requests his first TO. The end of the set is a struggle point by point level at 23-23 after Argentina prior lead up to 7 points to give excitement to the set as France never gives up fighting from behind to get the set point for the first time 29-30. Blain again takes one TO 31-30 to close 32-20.
With half the ticket on their pockets to Serbia for the Argentine Men Team, the second set starts with a non-forced error of France spiking and then it goes fought point by point on both sides of the net. The parity keeps until France that knows it is playing its last chance, gets a two point difference at the 1st. TTO 6-8. Weber starts using bench players. Marien Moreau scores an ace but the two point’s difference is widener at the 2nd. TTO 13-16 and Weber asks one of his TO 14-18. Rowing from behind Argentina never finds its own identity again due to being relaxed. Weber makes use of his second TO 21-24 to finish 22-25 leveling the series 1-1 before the long break and the local show.
The same status quo stands at the beginning of the third set as on the second one. Argentina gets a quick lead of 2-0, to make it 3-1 and not wasting it and very concentrated makes Blain use one of his TO 5-1. It works but not enough and the score at the first TTO is 8-6. Chavez ace puts the score 12-8 and the audience once more gets frenetic. France seems to recover but Argentina keeps the difference 14-10. Each point is celebrated as if it would be the last one and the 2nd. TTO shows a 16-13 board. Blain boys react and keep fighting without never giving up, a great attitude when the local team gets continuous cheering of 9,000 fans. They equal the score 19-19 when the Argentine coach asks one TO. France gets the first lead 19-20 when Weber stars moving the bench. Nerves are inside and outside the field and Argentina scores thanks to French serving mistakes. With the score 21-23 Weber makes use of his second TO but the set closes 21-25.
The fourth set is decisive for both teams. The winner will go to Serbia, an incredible definition of an Intercontinental Round in the last match of a total of 12. France scores the first point and gets the first two point lead 2-4 but Argentina levels at 6-6 with the score 8-7 at the 1st. TOO. Blain makes use of one of his TO 10-7. Both teams keep scoring one point each and when it seems France equals, Argentina reaches the 2nd. TTO 16-12. After the local suffer France uses a TO 18-12. France makes use of all his changes. Argentina fans start celebrating 23-15 and the set closes after Filardi mistake serving 25-18 with Chavez spike.
The tie-break set is a complete celebration and Argentina without nerves shows its best as on the first set. With nothing more at stake, no matter the result, the local team shows great outputs even though France plays also at a great level. The change of the side comes 8-6 to end with all the stadium singing, jumping and smiling, 15-7.