Olympic champions France beat the U.S to win men’s Volleyball Nations League title

France overcame the United States in a five-set thriller to win their first men’s Volleyball Nations League title. Poland beat hosts Italy to walk away with the bronze medal.

By Ockert de Villiers
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 champions France overcame the United States 3-2 (25-16, 25-19, 15-25, 21-25, 15-10) to win their first men’s Volleyball Nations League title in Bologna, Italy, on Sunday (24 July). 

The U.S. had to be content with their second silver medal in the competition. Poland overcame Italy to earn the bronze medal. 

Star outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth was worth his weight in gold for the French team scoring 22 points in the match. He was named the most valuable player of the tournament scoring 174 points.

France cruised to a two-set lead before the Americans bounced back in the third and fourth to roar back into contention.

The match was evenly poised in the fourth set, with the U.S. enjoying a slight edge over their French counterparts before levelling the scores to set up a thrilling fifth-set decider. 

The French took an early six-point lead in the fifth set to ultimately take the game away from the Americans to clinch the title. 

“We enjoy so much being together on the court. I think you can see that,” French setter Antoine Brizard told Volleyballworld

“We are super close outside the court and that’s the key. When we start playing with this energy and this chemistry, it’s hard to stop us.”

The French team included several key players who helped them to gold medal glory in Tokyo, including captain Benjamin Toniutti and Ngapeth.

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