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FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019: Iran falls to France in Ardabil


Sources: Press TV, FIVB & Islamic Republic News Agency

Iran have suffered their first straight sets defeat of the 2019 FIVB Nations League after falling to France in their last home game played in Ardabil.

Table-toppers Iran, who had rested some of their key players for the contest, had an error-prone opener that cost them the first set 25-18.

The Iranians displayed a better performance in the next set, but the French side still managed to edge them out 26-24.

The Asian giants did mount an effort for a comeback in the third set, but the Frenchmen simply proved too strong on the day, and completed their victory with a 25-21 win.

See photos of the match by Islamic Republic News Agency

Iran will travel to Bulgaria for its 5th week of the games where they will play Serbia, and the USA, as well as the hosts.

The top five teams in the standings plus hosts the USA will qualify for the finals in Chicago, which will be held from the 10th to the 14th of July.

Iranian women cheering for their team

France coach, Laurent Tillie: "It was first a nice victory against Iran. We know that Iran did not play with the usual starting players, they made a lot of changes, but it was important for us to have consistency and I am astonished by the amazing fans and atmosphere. This is what volleyball needs."

France captain, Benjamin Toniutti: "I think we played better compared with the first two days, though it was not perfect. We are happy with this game. Iran made a lot of substitutions and we took advantage of this opportunity to win. Regarding the atmosphere, it is beyond volleyball games, and we need this kind of atmosphere to play volleyball. I have played in a lot of countries, but this time, it was way different, and we really enjoyed the weekend. I thank the people for this."

Iran coach, Igor Kolakovic: "I must congratulate the France team for this victory and I thank the support of the two cities hosting the games in Iran, Urmia and Ardabil. They supported us from the beginning of the game until the end even though we did not play well, this energy means a lot to me and my team and I apologize if we did not win tonight's game. And sadly we lost the opportunity to qualify at home. But we will have another chance in the final week because there are three more games and I hope we play well against Bulgaria and other teams."

Iran captain, Saeid Marouf: "I congratulate France, it was not a satisfactory game from our side. They are disciplined and they dictate their power on the court."

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