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”!
Gido Vermeulen, coach of the Netherlands: “I think we started very well. Nimir was incredible in serve but step by step France came back because they are one of the best teams in the world and favorites in this World Championship. After the first two sets we just decided to put new players in, to give new energy in the team. Then our second setter started to play very well, our second libero as well. But I should say that we do not actually have second players, everybody in our team can play and they showed it. These guys brought the right emotions and we played an incredible game as a team. Tomorrow will be difficult for us because it will be our fourth game day in a row. We have to recover very well. Egypt is a dangerous team. Every big team have some problems with them, so we have to prepare this game very well and we will see what will happen tomorrow.”
Nimir Abdel-Azis, captain of the Netherlands: “I will repeat what I said yesterday: we are a bit surprised. As I said, our main goal was to beat China and Egypt, and now we won against Brazil and France and managed to pass through to the second round. It was a team fight again. We showed a really good level in the right moment and it is amazing. We are happy, it is the only thing we could be. We are proud that we showed this kind of volleyball at this moment. Tomorrow will be hard. Especially now, because we finished late today and tomorrow we are going to play early. We need to recover and we need to see which players will be in a good shape for play. We are going to fight again for a win.”
Jasper Diefenbach, player of the Netherlands: “I think we have quite a strange team because you never know which guys are going to do it. We started with one players and we started really well, but we could not win the first set. Then we lost the second set with quite a big gap. And in the third set we changed some players, new guys came in and we won the match. It is like this in our team: everybody can play, everybody fights and we have good atmosphere, good mentality together. I am really proud of this. If you had ever told me we were going to win against Brazil and France, I would have never believed you. We just needed to find the right rotation to win against these guys and I am very happy that we did it.”
Laurent Tillie, coach of France: “We started the match really well and we won the first two sets. Unfortunately, we lost our focus and this reflected on our performance in the other sets. The percentage of our block and serve started to go down. We also had a problem with our side-out and we couldn’t manage to find the right solution. We were in a difficult situation and we did not show a team work. Everybody stayed in their corners and we did not show our real game. Despite all this, we must come back stronger. We have match against Canada, which will be really important for our future in this tournament.”
Benjamin Toniutti, captain of France: “I’m really disappointed after the end of this match. It is unforgivable to lead 2-0 and after that to lose in a tie-break. Maybe we couldn’t manage to keep the focus, maybe we slowed down the tempo after the second set, I don’t know. However, it is a fact that we played really well in the first two sets and after that we lost. In the tie-break we couldn’t manage to find the right way and the Netherlands deserved to win.”