To hell and back - patience paid off for Poland in their dramatic five-setter against France on the first day of World League Finals in Poland
Kraków, Poland, July 13, 2016 – Poland defeated France in an epic five-setter 3-2 (21-25, 17-25, 25-17, 28-26, 15-12) not giving up after losing two first sets.
Stephane Antiga, coach of Poland: It was a tough game as usually against France and not the first time for us to go 0-2 with them and eventually win. We didn’t give up and fought on. Even if we had the opportunity to win in the first set and lost it, we were patient and the final victory was ours. As always the victory belongs to the whole team, but Mateusz Mika and Mateusz Bieniek played a really good match. Today we came here fresh, but we used a lot of energy. Tomorrow we need to show this attitude again and I think we are ready to repeat today’s positive score.
Laurent Tillie, coach of France: We didn’t expect to play that good from the beginning of the game. We had a lot of luck in the first set and then we continued to play effectively. Unfortunately then we weren’t able to keep this level. Mika played really well and we were disappointed with our performance. Now we need to have rest as my captain said and be prepared to take on Serbia on Friday.
Michał Kubiak, captain of Poland: We are happy to win this game. My applause goes to the guys who played tonight. It was an amazing match for Dawid Konarski and Mateusz Mika also had a good entry. From the third set we started playing as a whole team so I want to congratulate my teammates. Now we need to prepare for next game tomorrow against Serbia.
Benjamin Toniutti, captain of France: Congratulations to the Polish team. I think it was strange, we started so good after doing a full training. We came back to the game and won in the 1st and 2nd set. In the third set we lost the concentration. Poland started to put pressure in serve. Tomorrow we will take a rest and start the preparation to the game against Serbia, because they are very strong at this moment, as we saw in the preliminary round.
Mateusz Mika, Poland: I am happy that we were able to win this match. We fought in five sets until the end, even if at the beginning our game was not good. I think that this is volleyball – you can’t give up and you have to fight to the end - we did it and we won. It is important for us to collect victories with strong teams to avoid being the team who was defeated by everyone before the Olympic Games in Rio and here we have a great chance to do it, today we did the first step.
Nicolas Marechal, France: We played well, but after two set we started to made mistakes and it was a little bit nervous between us and that was not good. Poland started also to play much better. They changed the players. Mika and Bieniek played really well. We lost that match, but it's just one game. We had one week free before Final Six and I think it was good for us and our physical condition. World Leauge is one of our goals but Rio is the most important one. Nothing is finished here so we have to stay focused and win against Serbia.