France wants to exploit home advantage to make it to men's junior worlds
2013 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship - European Qualification
Saint-Jean d’Illac, France, May 4, 2013. The hosts of France, plus the national teams of Belgium, Latvia, Poland and Portugal will be playing next week for a spot to make it to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship scheduled for late August in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey. The tournament is set to take place in Saint-Jean d’Illac, a small suburb of Bordeaux, where in five days – through May 7 to 11 – and by playing four matches these teams will be trying to join the hosts of Turkey and 2012 European champions of Italy to compose the European contingent for the Championship. Every single set and point will count and even a single defeat may sideline the chances to book that much desired ticket to Turkey.
Though they had a very disappointing season last year as they could not qualify for the final round of the Junior European Championship, the hosts of France are quite determined to exploit the home advantage. “We have a very solid and well balanced group with excellent skills especially in defense” head coach Stéphane Faure says. “Most of the players know each other quite well since they were used to be part of the group since the youth division”. France got silver at the 2011 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship in Ankara but then failed to make it to the final round of the Junior European Champs. Four players included in the roster have played in France’s highest division this year, including 19-year old Thibaut Rossard, who represented Spacer’s TOULOUSE, the side that lost the cup final to TOURS VB.
Belgium and Poland seem to be the most serious contenders for that spot to make the World Championship. The Belgians were the surprising bronze medalists at last year’s European Champs where they lost to Spain in the semis. “They have a talented setter and play a fast and also aggressive Volleyball” France’s mentor Faure stresses. Poland, on the other hand, finished only sixth last year in Gdynia but is known for its athletic and powerful style. “They have – as usual – tall, fast and explosive players. They can beat any team in the world” Faure concludes.
Click here for a detailed schedule of the World Championship qualifier coming up in Saint-Jean d’Illac