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Big game ahead for France and Argentina in pool C

Leo Aveiro (left) and Santiago Aulisi play France for top position on Friday
Porto, Portugal, July 31, 2014 - France’s Arnaud Loiseau and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat and Argentina’s Leo Aveiro and Santiago Aulisi will clash on Friday to decide who wins top position in pool C at the FIVB U19 World Championships in Porto.

Both teams won all of their four pool matches so far and will meet in the final one on Friday. The winner will get a bye in the first knockout round.

“It is indeed a big game tomorrow especially because they have also won all of their games”, said Loiseau. “That’s why it’s going to be a big challenge and it is very important for us to win and place first in the pool.”

The French boys defeated Norway’s Aarrestad/Berntsen 2-0 (21-18, 23-21) in the morning. They showed some high-level beach volleyball with great rallies in their first FIVB tournament. A great accomplishment considering they weren’t feeling well at all.

“My partner and I both had food poisoning”, Gauthier-Rat said after the Norway match. “So it was really important to win this match in only two sets. We had only a few hours of sleep last night, so now we are going to the hotel to get some rest before our match this afternoon.”

They came back in the afternoon, still not feeling well, which probably cost them the first set, but in the end they pulled through with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-11, 15-10) win over Belarus’ Drapchynski/Vauchkevich.

“I feel terrible”, said Loiseau afterwards.“Not sleeping had a huge impact on us today. But I took my medication and I’m hoping to feel better later.”

The French team is confident though for their match against Argentina on Friday. “Especially because today we won these games being tired and sick”, said Loiseau. “Tomorrow we hope to be at our best and play a great game.”

Argentina is living the dream

Aveiro (17) and Aulisi (18) defeated Drapchynski/Vauchkevich 2-0 (29-27, 21-15) and had to pull out a tiebreaker to beat Poland’s Kmiecik/Macura (18-21, 21-16, 15-12).

“We came back and played better than in the first set. So we are very happy with this”, said Aveiro about the Poland match. “We now qualified for the elimination round, but tomorrow we for sure want to win, so we can take first place in the pool.”

The Argentineans played together on the Continental Tour this year, but Portugal is their first trip abroad. “This is our dream, to be beach volleyball players”, Aveiro said. “So we couldn’t be happier.”

Although both not that tall (1.83m), they make the most of their length. Both are excellent defence players, fast and agile. “We are not tall, so we have to move a lot”, said Aveiro. “I think we can do something great here, but most of all we want to have a great tournament.”

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