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They expected Ngapeth but Toniutti made different choices - Tillie

 

Lille, France, July 4, 2018 - France were happy with their win and the support of their fans after their victory over Brazil in five sets on the opening day of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League finals - but they all also shared a thought for Brazil's Mauricio Borges who was injured in the third set and was sidelined.

Laurent Tillie (France head coach): "Brazil started off strong and we were a bit shy with our game, making some mistakes. They played extremely well at the beginning but then we fought and kept the ball alive. Our reception was good, which was the most important thing. They were expecting Ngapeth but Toniutti made a lot of different choices; our attack was balanced. I also have a thought for Mauricio who got injured."

Benjamin Toniutti (France captain): "It's always hard to beat Brazil; they're a nation with a rich history in volleyball. Even if we can still play better, we're happy to have won tonight with a great atmosphere. The level is so close between both teams that we had to remain focused. Despite their very strong block, we managed to get through at times. I still believe we can work more on our service to reach our top level. I wish the best for Mauricio who hurt his knee."

Earvin Ngapeth (France outside hitter): "Maybe we put some pressure on ourselves at first but then we released it and played better. The fact that Mauricio hurt himself helped us because he is one of the most stable players of their team. Our service was a bit off, it happens, but we knew how to use other skills. Playing here in France is important for us; there were a lot of fans tonight, it felt great. We really wanted to win and that is what happened. Those fights in The Finals don't have much to do with the games in the round-robin pool. It will again be a hard struggle against Serbia in two days."

Renan Dal Zotto (Brazil head coach): "The game was very balanced and, as usual, the details made the difference at the end. Also, we felt at a loss when one of our key players got injured, but nothing is over yet; we'll have to win tomorrow. We need to look forward."

Bruno Rezende (Brazil captain): "I think our counterattacks could have been better. We did a great match in reception, we were really focused, but sometimes we were not perfect in transition, my setting as well sometimes. I really believe we can do better tomorrow. We have to focus on the Serbian team now because it is going to be a hard game too."

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