A single set lost in seven games, demonstrations against big continental stables and a dynamic load: the French volleyball players arrive at Paris-Bercy to face Serbia on Friday (20:45) and get a ticket for the final of "their" Euro.
By humiliating the Italians, vice-Olympic champions of Rio-2016, 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 25-14) Tuesday night in Nantes, the Blues won the right to play in the arena lucky where handball players (World-2001 and 2017) and handball players (Euro-2018) have already been crowned.
"It reminds me what? 12,000 people for capacity, noise, the capital.I hope we will massage many people and we will hit a good shot," says Julien Lyneel, striker-receiver of the Blues on fire since the first points of the Euro, at home in Montpellier.
This last square was the minimum goal that the band at Ngapeth had set in order to advance his discipline in the hearts of the public. Volleyball has its way to exist in France, a country where the success of other ball sports - football, hand, basketball - is almost unique in the world. The opportunity only appears every three or four decades (last World Cup in France in 1986, last Euro in 1979), it was not necessary to miss it.
- Growing appetite -
"It's good to organize, but it gives a lot of responsibility and it's true that there is a huge weight", smiles the coach Laurent Tillie, who would have wanted to miss this possibility to shine at home, he who experienced the disappointment of a sixth place at the 1986 World Cup in France.
As the Euro progressed, with the matches won hands down against Bulgaria (3-0 in the first round) and twice against Italy (3-1 in the first round and 3-0 in the quarter ), this goal of seeing Bercy has turned into a mere point of passage.
"Another match and it's the medal, two more and it's the most beautiful.We will go to Bercy and do everything to win," launched after the quarterfinal star of the team, Earvin Ngapeth .
On the level of play proposed, the French will leave with a slight advantage over Serbia, who fought until the tiebreak to get rid of the Ukrainians in the quarterfinals, when the French celebrated with their audience the victory over Italy .
- For a sixth final -
At home, they will go on the quest for a sixth European final. Only the last one was won in 2015 in Bulgaria, with a group largely identical to this year's (Ngapeth, Benjamin Toniutti, Kevin Roux, Jenia Grebennikov, etc.).
After three failures in the 2016 Olympics (9th), Euro-2017 (9th) and the World Cup-2018 (7th), Laurent Tillie's players found their defense of iron, led by his libero genius, Jena Grebennikov .
They can count on a dense group, where each entry into play of a substitute can be decisive: against Italy, Thibault Rossard arrived at the end of the second set to serve and save an Italian set ball. Julien Lyneel fulfilled his role perfectly after Kevin Tillie's injury on a spectacular rescue.
The Blues own especially with Stephen Boyer a "sharp" who took an exceptional dimension during this tournament, at 23 years, the attack and the service. We can not help but imagine what the Ngapeth-Boyer duo could do against the Cuban bomber of Poland Wilfredo Leon on Sunday in the ideal final.
© 2019 AFP