Sports
0

France 3 Iran 1

France led Iran 3-1 in their head-to-head record at world-level events coming into this match.France led Iran 3-1 in their head-to-head record at world-level events coming into this match.
In the second set, Iran fought back superbly with Ebadipour and Ghafour a constant threat and the French inexplicably imploded as the Iranian blockers started getting some joy at the net; finally Igor Kolakovic’s men snatched the set 26-24 and deservedly

Iran national seniors’ volleyball team started the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League with a loss to the host country France on May 25 in Rouen, France.

Earvin Ngapeth provided the spark for France as the host began its campaign with a victory (25-20, 24-26, 25-20, 25-17) over Asian powerhouse Iran, FIVB.com reported.

This was an intriguing match-up between two high quality sides, but it was 2017 World League champion France which got the better of the Grand Champions Cup bronze medalists in front of its home crowd at the Kindarena Arena on the banks of the River Seine, although it was far from easy against determined opposition.

Iran, which beat France for the first time last year on its way to a 3rd-placed finish at the Grand Champions Cup – the nation’s first-ever podium finish at world level - provided plenty of power and style, while its blocking mirrored the quality of the French.

Amir Ghafour was a scoring machine with 18 points - all of them spikes - while Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi (9 points) and Milad Ebadipour (6 points) were also influential. Iranians were terrific but were ultimately outgunned, although they expect to beat Australia and Japan in their remaining Pool 1 games in Rouen.

The opening set began amidst much fanfare - led by the powerful Le Goff – who was soon in its stride and forged a healthy 8-4 by the first technical time out.

Patry and Ngapeth added further spikes - the latter scoring after a brilliant piece of play from Grebennikov - to bring up set point and Patry rounded it out 25-20 to the delight of the home crowd.  

France, which has won two of the last three World Leagues, was in the mood. With Iran trailing just 6-5 in the second set, Laurent Tillie’s men bridged the gap to three points at the first technical time out before a gorgeous placed shot from Thibaut Rossard extended the advantage further.

 A Constant Threat

Ngapeth, the 2017 World League Most Valuable Player, then grabbed the set by the scruff of the net with some spectacular spikes with Iran struggling to contain him. Iran though fought back superbly with Ebadipour and Ghafour a constant threat as the visitors moved to within 1 point at 23-22, and the French inexplicably imploded as the Iranian blockers started getting some joy at the net. Mousavi’s bravery gave Iran set point and he was involved again as Igor Kolakovic’s men snatched the set 26-24 and deservedly hauled themselves level.

The host was rattled and Iran’s Montenegrin coach Kolakovic was full of encouragement on the sidelines as Iran took an early 2-1 lead in the third set. Coach Tillie threw on his son Kevin and he notched an important spike to hand France an 8-5 lead at the first technical time out. But a bad Ngapeth miss let Iran close to within 2 at 12-10, and a brilliant Farhad Salafzoon block gave Iran real belief at 19-18 behind. But the best sides often come good at the crucial times, and Chinenyeze came to the fore with a couple of polished spikes to get France over the line 25-20 as they regained control of the match.  

France led Iran 3-1 in their head-to-head record at world-level events coming into this match, and charged into an 8-4 lead at the first technical time out with the Iranians facing an uphill task to force a deciding set.

But the visitors were proving extremely stubborn opposition and they clawed their way back again with Mousavi’s outstanding block - he won four block points in the match - closing the gap to two points. At 14-12 to France, the set was in the balance but six successive points put Les Bleus 8 clear with Iran seemingly tiring. And the hosts closed out a pulsating match by taking the 4th set 25-17 to claim the maximum three points and get its Nations League campaign off to a flying start.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com