FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Bulgaria

Press release

Bulgaria almost made it to the Olympics winning a heartbreaking thriller against France


Boiling cauldron of Arena Armeec Sofia. Over 13,000 spectators gave their voice off to support Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria, June 9, 2012 – Bulgaria had its lucky day at last running over France 3-1 (25-19, 26-28, 25-23, 27-25) to almost qualify for the Olympics in London 2012. Making one nation's dream come true, Radostin Stoychev and his Lions have only one small step to perform, to get it true – victory against Egypt tomorrow.
13,000 spectators, including President of the State Rosen Plevneliev and Sports Minister Svilen Neykov, attended the match giving the French real living hell in 'white - green - red' boiling cauldron.

First set was a movie slide for Bulgaria. On the wings of emotion they took a small advantage but kept it till the end. Having its newest star rider Tsvetan Sokolov on the move, hosts did it at the end 25-19. A suprising move by Radostin Stoychev, putting two setters on the field Andrey Zhekov and Georgi Bratoev, check matted the French team.

Tasting the adrenalin and cheered till the very maximum, Balkan Lions went ahead in the second and thought it may be done fast and easy. Not exactly that way was Philippe Blain and his boys thinking. Opposite Antonin Rouzier executed almost every ball setter Toniutti delivered. Also having Ngapeth rising, France managed to provide quite a resistance to Bulgaria. Point-by-point rally until the very last provided highest volleyball emotions for the fans. At the end a hint of luck and moved the victory to French side - 28-26.

Spectators were rewarded with identical thriller in the third set. Volleyball of highest class, hi speed rallies, rock blocks - whatever a volleyball mind can dream of - it was all there. Outside hitters Sokolov and Todor Aleksiev lead Bulgaria ahead, scoring 13 and 11 for 3 sets, along with Teodor Todorov' kill blocks. Against that France opposed nice digging and great plays by Ngapeth and Le Roux. Both teams exchanging the lead to settle at 19-19 and run again into a point-by-point rally. This time Bulgaria was more peart to close the set 25-23.

As it was all decided to be hard until the very end in this match. Both team fought for each and every ball feeling this only chance to visit London 2012. Bulgaria moved in with another surprise – having their digging smoother and smoother, while France called captain Pujol as starting setter. The key moment above it all was the the better decisions Bulgarians took in the most nervous moments and fantastic blockers re-born at the fourth set. Bulgaria could have close it faster but lost 3 match balls at 21-24. For France it was great crash to come back at 24-24 and 25-25 and to lose it at the end.


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