Aix-en-Provence, France, June 8, 2018 - Jean Patry's French team faced no issues in shutting out South Korea 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) in the opening game of Week 3 of the 2018 FIVB Nations League.
No nonsense Patry was lethal against the Asians when he delivered 12 points overall to help seal his team's fifth victory since the start of the VNL and once again to become the top scorer of the match.
Earvin Ngapeth (8 points) and Stephen Boyer (6 points) also made contributions as coach Laurent Tillie tried to get all of his players involved.
Jiseok Jung was the star for the Koreans with 10 points of his own while Hui-Chae Song was another player in fine form with 9 points for the beaten brigade.
After suffering two shock defeats in Week 2 of this year's Nations League, France looked to capitalise on home support as they return to Aix-en-Provence to host winless Korea. The Asian side, still seeking its first win in the competition, has not beaten France since the 2011, having lost their last 10 matches.
Laurent Tillie opted for his usual big names, with star Earvin Ngapeth and libero Jenia Grebennikov in the starting line up. But it wasn't sufficient in the beginning of the set as the Koreans held their ground thanks to an efficient block (6-6). With the deft Hui-Chae Song proving a menace both in offense and defense, Les Bleus were forced to look for other options: Thibault Rossard and Daryl Bultor were introduced but the home side still struggled to get rid of a solid Korean side (15-13). But the incredible passing skills of Benjamin Toniutti were there to save the day and lift the French at the business side of the set (25-21).
Rossard made up for a slip up in the reception with a thunderous spike that helped Les Bleus level at 3-3 after starting the set with a 3-point disadvantage. The French closed up shop as the Gallic block sprung into action with an impressive run of six consecutive kills (11-6). Highflying Jean Patry added to the French lead with a powerful spike while Rossard kept on bombarding the helpless Koreans and Toniutti scored with a deft play (19-12). France were in no mood to give Korea hopes as Barthélémy Chinenyeze and Julien Lyneel each added their names to the score sheet (25-18).
With the wind in their sails, the Europeans certainly started like the shackles had been freed as Lyneel spiked (6-4). But the Koreans once again refused to give up, clawing back into the game off the back of Hui-Chae Song (16-15). A last minute mega rally by the visitors kept Korea in the game but France wrapped it up thanks to another unforced error (25-22).