Tokyo (AFP)

"This is not the end of the day, there are two steps left."

The feat against Poland is not enough for Laurent Tillie.

Nor to his volleyball players, "very vengeful" - word of Earvin Ngapeth - before finding Argentina in the semi-final on Thursday (9:00 p.m. local / 2:00 p.m. in Paris).

Triumphing over Facundo Conte and his band would appropriately complete the nine years of service of the coach of the Blues.

A success would be the assurance of an Olympic medal, the first in the history of French volleyball that Laurent Tillie has taken to unprecedented heights: the first titles - Euro-2015, World Leagues 2015 and 2017 -, a first quarter of Olympic final Tuesday and now the last four of the Games.

And then, after the third group match that left Benjamin Toniutti and his family almost eliminated, the Argentines are a target.

"Survivors", miraculous after their 3-2 setback against them, the Blues have dropped heads since they escaped a new elimination in the first round: that of the Russians, almost that of the Brazilians (four match points) and finally that of the double Polish world champions in the quarter-finals.

The coach of the French volleyball team Laurent Tillie during the match against Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics, July 28, 2021 ANDREJ ISAKOVIC AFP / Archives

"This is the third feat we have done, so we are starting to get used to it," pretends Laurent Tillie.

After three difficult matches, his players have regained their defense of every moment, an endurance of steel against Poland.

Earvin Ngapeth, Jenia Grebennikov and Trévor Clévenot remained inflexible against the blows of Wilfredo Leon and Bartosz Kurek.

By pushing them to the brink of elimination, their Argentinian setback freed the Blues "a little stressed, not in", when they entered the Olympic tournament, according to central Barthélémy Chinenyeze.

"Since that match (Argentina, editor's note), I think we've found new energy on the pitch, feels the sharp Jean Patry. A new game that looks more like us. We're ready."

Frenchman Jean Patry during the quarter-final of the Tokyo Olympics volleyball tournament against Poland, August 3, 2021 YURI CORTEZ AFP

However, no question, now that they have brought down the great Polish favorites to see each other already in the final.

"We are not stronger than the Argentines, they made extraordinary performances, recalls Barthélémy Chinenyeze. They put 3-0 in the United States, we did not expect it. There, they beat Italy (3 -2). "

"We are both survivors", summarizes Laurent Tillie placing them tied before crossing swords Thursday.

© 2021 AFP