France (FRA) vs. USA (USA) men - Pool 1 - Preliminary Phase #15983608

With a completely different starting seven from their match against Slovenia on Thursday, France bounced back with a straight-set win over the United States as the Volleyball Nations League 2024 Pool 1 action continued in Antalya on Friday.

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The reigning Olympic champions produced a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-21) shutout of a young US team to improve to a 2-1 win-loss record and 6 points in fourth place in the current standings. France also picked up a solid chunk of 14.25 points for the FIVB World Ranking, taking it away from the world’s number two team and climbing two spots up to number six, surpassing Slovenia and Argentina.

Outside hitter Yacine Louati delivered a match-high 13 points, including two kill blocks and an ace. It was matched by his American counterpart Jordan Ewart, who hammered 13 kills in attack. French opposite Theo Faure put away another 12 points, while US middle blocker Matthew Knigge finished with 10.

“This was only our second match together. We had good moments in the last match, and good moments and bad moments as well, especially in that second set,” Jordan Ewert told Volleyball World after the game. “Obviously, our goal is to win, but our main goal is to just keep improving throughout the week. It was also tough with the first two matches being against Poland and France, but I think we made some big improvements today as a team and also as individuals. So we are going back to the drawing board and see what we can do tomorrow.”

“We came from a game yesterday, when we didn’t play so well. We were missing the identity of the team to get back to our level and play a little bit better,” Yacine Louati added. ”With the big switch today, it worked well and it’s very important for us. A few of the American players play in France, so we know them. They have a really good level, but that’s American volleyball. So it was an interesting game. They gave us problems in the second and the third, mostly. It was good for us, to keep growing and keep finding our level.”

In their next matches on Saturday, France will take on hosts Türkiye at 17:00 local time (14:00 UTC) and USA will face Bulgaria at 20:00 (17:00)

Two matches were played in Antalya on Thursday, after France’s four-set loss to Slovenia. In the late match, the Netherlands mounted a furious comeback from two sets down against Türkiye to celebrate their first win of VNL 2024. Opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz and outside Maarten Van Garderen contributed 24 and 23 points, respectively, towards an impressive 3-2 (19-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-9) close, which brought the Dutch 4.41 points towards the World Ranking.

Right before that, Poland and Canada hit the court in Antalya. The defending VNL champions managed a 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21) win with outside Bartosz Bednorz leading the way with 19 points.

Canada bounced back on Friday with a hard-fought 3-0 (25-22, 30-28, 24-26) sweep of their encounter with Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s opposite Dimitar Dimitrov produced the match high of 15 points, while Eric Loeppky was Canada’s leading scorer with 14 points.

The VNL competition day in Antalya will continue with Netherlands v Poland at 20:00 local time (17:00 UTC). Over in Rio de Janeiro, Friday’s Pool 2 programme includes the games between Cuba and Japan at 14:00 local time (17:00 UTC), between Iran and Italy at 17:30 (20:30), and between Serbia and Brazil at 21:00 (00:00).

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