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Australia and France set scene for mouth-watering World League Group 2 final

 
France celebrate qualifying for the Group 2 Final tomorrow
Sydney, Australia, July 11, 2014 - Australia and France could not have been more impressive in their FIVB Volleyball World League semifinal wins in Sydney, setting the scene for a gripping final.

The Australian men's volleyball team stunned the Netherlands in straight sets in Sydney to move one step closer to an historic berth in next week's World League finals in Italy. Australia will now play France tomorrow night in Sydney, after the French were also convincing straight-sets winners over Belgium in Friday's other semifinal.

Key points:

•    Final scores: France beat Belgium 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-19). Australia beat the Netherlands 3-0 (25-23, 25-12, 27-25)
•    Edgar was the dominant player on the night, finishing with 23 points. Dutchman Dick Kooy and France’s Kevin Tillie both finished with 16 points.
•    Australia play France at Homebush at 8pm on Saturday night, with the winner to board a plane on Sunday to fly to Italy to contest the World League finals. Belgium will play the Netherlands for third.
•   France and Belgium met for the first time in the World League today. Earlier this year, they met in a World Championships qualifier. Belgium won that match 3-2.
•   Belgium won Pool C by claiming seven victories. Of their five defeats, three came against Finland, the only European side they had faced in the World League so far.
•   Going into the semifinal, France had won 33 World League sets this season and collected 30 points. Both numbers are the most for any nation in this year's World League campaign.
•   Australia and the Netherlands also met for the first time in the World League today. Australia were the 20th opponent for the Netherlands in the competition, while the Netherlands are Australia’s seventh opponent.
•   Australia finished fourth in Pool C and are in the Group 2 Finals as hosts of the tournament. They have won five matches this season – three vs Canada, two vs Finland.
•   Of all four countries in Group 2 Finals, only the Netherlands have won the World League, in 1996.


The Volleyroos went into this weekend's semifinals as underdogs, earning their place as the host nation even though they finished bottom of their qualifying group.

But in a further sign the Australians have timed their run to perfection, the home side followed on from their clean sweep over Canada last weekend with a comprehensive victory over the Dutch.

After a hard fought 25-23 win in the opening set, 2.12m Tom Edgar and captain Aidan Zingel combined to lift the Volleyroos to some of their best form of the year in the second set, crushing the visitors 25-12.

When Australia opened up a 4-0 lead at the top of the third it looked all over, but the Dutch clawed their way back to save two match points before eventually losing 27-25.

"It's a fantastic result in a do-or-die contest," Zingel said. "Last weekend definitely helped. If we could play at the level we played in the second set all the time it would be fantastic, that's what we dream of doing."

France were equally impressive, building a win off the back of a powerful service game. “We served very well tonight,” coach Laurent Tillie said. “After we stayed focused on the game, we stayed concentrated, and that is why we won tonight. I think today it appears we were in better shape than Belgium, because we finished one week earlier.”

Belgian coach Dominigue Baeyens said he knew his team were in trouble by the second set. “We suffered a lot from their serve, it put a lot of pressure on our team, that made the difference,” he said. “We had less power and speed and mental strength than before. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was the two long trips in 14 days, it’s a possible explanation, but it is also an excuse. We lost against a better opponent today.”

By contrast, Australian coach Jon Uriarte was full of praise for his team. “Today is an important day for the team, because all this effort and learning process came in a key match together, and that is something that speaks very good about the team and each single player,” he said. “We made good decisions and showed the maturity we were looking for.”

Netherlands coach Edwin Benne had expected better from his team, especially given their form leading up to the semifinals. “I hoped we could bring the same performance of the past couple of weeks, but it showed from the beginning we were suffering with our passing,” Benne said. “(Tom) Edgar was nailing every ball, which was very disappointing from our side. He’s a good player, but we know how to play against him, but we didn’t.”

LIVE SCORING - WEEK 8
Match
No    Pool    Date    Local
Time    GMT
Time    Teams    Live Score
Result    City    Description    Press
Conf.    Stats    Photos
G2-73    SF-GR2    11/07    17:40    07:40    BEL-FRA    0-3    Sydney    View    View    View    View
G2-74    SF-GR2    11/07    20:10    10:10    AUS-NED    3-0    Sydney    View    View    View    View




FIVB World League 2014 Performances
Top Scoring Performances
37- Yuan Zhi of China v Cuba (June 28)
36 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Russia (June 27)
33 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Australia (July 5)
32 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Serbia (June 14)
32 – Maurice Torres of Puerto Rico v Spain (June 8)
32 – Thomas Edgar of Australia v Finland (June 7)
31 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Australia (June 20)
31 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Belgium (June 8)
30 – Ivan Zaytsev of Italy v Brazil (July 3)
28 - Rolando Cepeda Abreu of Cuba v Turkey (June 29 - Group 3 gold medal match)
28 – Park Chul-Woo of Korea v Netherlands (June 28)
28 – Michal Winiarski of Poland v Italy (June 13)
28 – Jeon Kwang-In of Korea v Czech Republic (June 5)
28 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Finland (June 1)
28 – Nemanja Petric of Serbia v Russia (May 31)
28 – Christian Fromm of Germany v Japan (May 24)
28 – Kunihiro Shimizu of Japan v Germany (May 24)

Top Blocking Performances
10 – Dmitriy Muserskiy of Russia v USA (June 27)
8 – Tommi Siirila of Finland v Belgium (July 5)
8 – Pieter Verhees of Belgium v Finland (July 4)
8 – Gil Marcel Keller of Portugal v Netherlands (June 8)
8 – Nicolas Le Goff of France v Japan (May 31)
8 – Matteo Piano of Italy v Brazil (May 24)
8 – Jorge Fernandez Valcarel (June 15)
7 – Sebastian Solé of Argentina v France (June 29)
7 - Michael Parkinson of the Netherlands v Korea (June 29)
6 – Michal Krisko of Czech Republic v Korea (June 21)
6 – Artem Volvich of Russia v Serbia (May 30)
6 – Aidan Zingel of Australia v Finland (June 14)
6 – Viktor Yosihof of Bulgaria v Russia (June 15)
6 – Jukka Lehtonen of Finland v Belgium (June 22)

Top Blocking Performances by Team
23 - The Netherlands v Korea (June 29)
18 – Finland v Belgium (July 5)
18 – USA v Serbia (June 14)
18 – Portugal v Netherlands (June 8)
17 – Russia v USA (June 27)
17 – Czech Republic v Korea (June 21)
17 – Canada v Australia (June 20)
17 – Spain v Slovakia (June 15)
17 – Turkey v Tunisia (June 8)
17 – France v Argentina (May 24)
16 – Germany v Japan (June 28)
16 – Netherlands v Czech Republic (June 14)
16 – Spain v Puerto Rico (June 8)
16 – Italy v Poland (June 8)
16 – Turkey v Mexico (June 7)
16 – Czech Republic v Korea (June 5)
16 – Iran v Brazil (June 6)

Top Serving Performances
7 – Mikko Oivanen (Finland) v Belgium (June 22)
6 – Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Netherlands) v Portugal (June 21)
6 – Alexandre Ferreira (Portugal) v Czech Republic (May 31)
5 - Lubos Kostolani (Slovakia) v China (June 29 - Group 3 bronze medal match)
5 – Yuan Zhi (China) v Cuba (June 28)
5 – Valdir Sequeira (Portugal) v Netherlands (June 21)
5 – Luiz Felipe Fonteles (Brazil) v Poland (May 29)
5 – Dick Kooy (Netherlands) v Korea (May 31)
5 – Nicolas Marechal (France) v Germany (June 15)

Top Serving Performances by Team
14 – Finland v Belgium (June 22)
12 - Slovakia v China (June 29 - Group 3 bronze medal match)
12 – Netherlands v Portugal (June 21)
11 – USA v Bulgaria (June 20)
11 – Bulgaria v Serbia (June 8)
11 – France v Germany (June 15)
10 – Germany v Japan (May 24)
10 – Finland v Australia (June 15)

Highest Scorer by Round
Week 1: 28 – Christian Fromm of Germany v Japan; Kunihiro Shimizu of Japan v Germany (May 24)
Week 2: 28 – Nemanja Petric of Serbia v Russia (May 31)
Week 3: 32 – Maurice Torres of Puerto Rico v Spain (June 8); Thomas Edgar of Australia v Finland (June 7)
Week 4: 32 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Serbia (June 14)
Week 5: 31 – Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Australia (June 20)
Week 6: 37 – Yuan Zhi of China v Cuba (June 28)
Week 7: 30 – Ivan Zaytsev of Italy v Brazil (July 3)
Week 8: 23 - Edgar Thomas of Australia v the Netherlands (July 11)

Highest Set Score
Week 1: Germany v Japan, 27-29 (May 24)
Week 2: Brazil v Poland, 29-27 (May 29)
Week 3: Czech Republic v Korea, 31-33 (June 5); Turkey v Cuba, 31-33 (June 6); Belgium v Canada, 33-31 (June 8)
Week 4: USA v Serbia (June 13), China v Puerto Rico (June 15) 30-28
Week 5: Russia v Serbia (June 20) 37-35
Week 6: China v Slovakia (June 29) 39-37
Week 7: Finland v Belgium (July 5) 29-27
Week 8: Australia v the Netherlands (July 11) 27-25

Highest Scoring Matches
Week 1: Germany v Japan (May 24) (25-23, 25-21, 27-29, 23-25, 15-9) – 222 points
Week 2: Canada v Finland (June 1) (19-25, 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 15, 11) – 207 points
Week 3: Czech Republic v Korea (June 5) (31-33, 25-19, 26-24, 26-28, 20-18) – 250 points
Week 4: Poland v Italy (June 13) (25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 25-27, 15-10) – 225 points
Week 5: Australia v Canada (June 20) (25-27, 20-25, 30-28, 25-17, 15-13) – 225 points
Week 6: Korea v Netherlands (June 28) (31-29, 16-25, 25-23, 30-32, 14-16) – 241 points
Week 7: Finland v Belgium (July 5) (23-25, 29-27, 22-25, 25-23, 15-8) – 222 points
Week 8: France v Belgium (July 11) (26-24, 25-21, 25-19) - 140 points


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