FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Bulgaria

Press release

France beat Czech Rep in Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament warm-up

France coach Philippe Blain with key attacking weapon Antonin Rouzier who has recovered from a stomach illness in time for the FIVB Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament duew to start on Friday

Lille, France, June 3, 2012 – World No. 21 France completed their build up towards the FIVB Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament by beating the Czech Republic, ranked 23rd in the world, for the third time in as many matches in Lille on Sunday.

France and the Czech Republic will head to Sofia, Bulgaria and Berlin, Germany respectively for the chance to play for one Olympic Games vacancy from June 8 to 10. France will come up against Bulgaria, Egypt and Pakistan. The Czech Republic take on Germany, Cuba and India.

France followed up their impressive opening weekend of the World League last month when they beat USA and Korea and lost to Italy with a 3-2 win on Friday, a 3-1 victory on Saturday and a solid straight sets win on Sunday.

"Overall the Czechs have allowed us to achieve some targets even if they were not at the level I was expecting in terms of difficulty,” France coach Philippe Blain said. “The third game was taken seriously by the Czechs and I retained Antonin Rouzier after his stomach illness, which he seems to be nearly over. However, we have not been pushed to our limits. The Czech servers were not at what we will meet against the Bulgarians. With three games it was part of building a rhythm ahead of the next weekend. "

Due to the fact the World Olympic Qualification Tournament will be run in accordance to the Olympic Games regulations teams can only select 12 players for the three-day tournament. Therefore Blain has been forced to leave out Kevin Tillie and Jean-Philippe Sol with the experienced William Samica and Gerald Hardy-Dessources getting the nod instead.

"Gerald has played well which has helped the team’s current momentum,” Blain said. “William also played well (on Sunday). In such an important competition where Olympic qualification is on the line, the experience of William, in this context is crucial."

France is particularly focused on one match on Saturday at 19.30 (local time), against the hosts Bulgaria, which is set to decide the group and who obtains the ticket to London. However first up is a match against Egypt on Friday at 16:30.

"We have studied both teams on video, the boys are focused on Bulgaria but we will obviously not forget the first hurdle is Egypt,” Blain, who gave his squad a day off on Monday, said. “The best thing to do is a good start to put pressure on Bulgaria. The pressure is there everyday. The boys will fight hard. After our arrival in Sofia on Tuesday afternoon, we will make one last workout then we will have a daily training until the tournament. "

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