Players of the Netherlands celebrates a point during the match against France.
Ruse, Bulgaria, September 16, 2018 – The Netherlands survived an amazing five-set thriller against France and achieved their third remarkable win in Pool B at the 2018 FIVB World Championship! The players coached by Gido Vermeulen defeated the French team by 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-13) in front of over 2000 spectators in “Arena Monbat”!
Like a real captain, Nimir Abdel-Aziz led the Netherlands to the dream start of the match! The Dutch opposite scored two aces in a row to secure early 5-point advantage (8-3). Immediately after the pause Thijs Ter Horst continued the outstanding performance by the Hollands from the service line with another two aces and made the result 10-3. France managed to stabilize their reception and was back in the game by 18-18. In the end Jasper Diefenbach surprised them with a perfect float serving and the Hollands were 3 points ahead by 22-19. Led by Earvin Ngapeth, Tillie’s players made an amazing come back and won the breathtaking opening set by 25-23.
Just like in the end of the first set, the Netherlands made too many mistakes in the second one (8) and France quickly took the control on the field. The European champion from 2015 played pretty well in all aspects of the game and won the second set by 25-19.
In the third set the Netherlands stabilized their performance and made only 2 unforced errors during this period. With a good serve and block the Dutch took a 6-point advantage by 16-10. Michael Parkinson stopped Earvin Ngapeth with a huge block to make the result 20-15 and the coach of France, Laurent Tillie, decided to make some subs. The second setter of the team Antoine Brizard scored an ace, Jean Patry played pretty smart near the net, and the French were one point behind by 21-22. In the end, the set was decided after two monster blocks in a row by Michael Parkinson and the Dutch were back in the match after 25-21.
In the fourth set the battle was equal and France had a point advantage at the second technical time-out, but after the pause Parkinson made another block and led the Dutch to 17-16. The Hollands played really well on side-out and led by Nimir Abdel-Aziz, who was unstoppable in attack, won the fourth set by 25-23.
In the tie-break Abdel-Aziz spiked against a triple French block and the Netherlands was one point ahead by 8-7. With great serve and block, and after another unforced error in attack by Stephen Boyer, the Hollands took a huge 3-point advantage by 13-10. In the end Boyer saved the first match point after a block touch, but just a minute later the Netherlands won the breathtaking tie-break by 15-13!
Nimir Abdel-Aziz topped the list of the scorers with the amazing 31 points! For France Stephen Boyer finished with 21.
It is the second victory for the Netherlands versus France in the World Championship history! The most recent world level major tournament match between these two teams was in Santa Fe in 2002, when the French won in straight sets.