VNL 2024: France secures Final Eight slot with win over Brazil

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Theo Faure and France celebrate during a game against Brazil at the VNL in Manila.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Before defending its crown at home in the 2024 Paris Olympics, France eked out a nail-biting 25-23, 27-29, 25-13, 25-19, 18-16 win over Brazil to cap its Manila stint in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The French Spikers pulled the rug from a 1-2 deficit and recovered from a 12-point beatdown in the third set as Theo Faure fired 29 points off 25 attacks, three aces, and a block to secure their spot in the Final Eight in Poland with an 8-4 record.

France coach Andrea Giani got a crucial successful challenge in the fifth set when Adriano Fernandes brought Brazil at match point, 14-13, but was deemed as net touch, bringing the advantage on their side. 

READ: VNL 2024: Yuki Ishikawa, Japan rally past Olympic champion France

However, France committed two crucial service errors before Lucarelli Souza forced a deuce anew at 16-all. Faure sent the French anew at match point before Quentin Jouffroy drilled the game-winning ace to complete the come-from-behind win.

Giani relished his second Manila leg in the past three VNL hosting of the Philippines, as his wards split their four matches, bouncing back from a five-set meltdown to Japan on Saturday.

“It’s the second time for me, and this gym is fantastic. For the fans, it’s perfect because many people, many fans, and this volleyball is a show. It’s important the player and the team used this because it’s a show, and we need to put in the best every time,” France’s coach said.

Although they will be playing in the Final Eight, Giani and his team stressed the importance of defending their Olympic title at home. 

READ: VNL 2024: France halts Iran streak to boost Final Eight push

“The VNL [is] too competitive. The first preparation for the Olympic Games. It’s important for the team to play against a big team. Every match we need to try to win and improve the level and quality,” he said. “I’m very happy because of this tournament, the starting six and the second lineup, they played against great teams here.”

Kevin Tillie also stepped up for France with 14 points, while Jouffroy and Yacine Loati added eight points each.

Brazil, which drew inspiration from Bruno Rezende’s return from injury, seeing limited action, only won a game in Manila, sliding to a 6-6 card,

Souza led the Brazilians with 18 points. Alan Souza had 15 points, while Fernandez and Flavio Resende added 11 and 10 points, respectively.



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