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USA to Play Brazil for Bronze at VNL


LILLE, France, July 7, 2018 - France outlasted an American comeback and Russia demolished Brazil here on Saturday after some electrifying action in the semifinals, setting up an all-European historic final in the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League in this northern France city.


Despite taking to the court again in just about 13 hours after the end of their previous game, France were looking good for a clean sweep of USA. But that was before USA coach John Speraw intervened, bringing Aaron RusselL in off the bench to replace Benjamin Patch and shifting the rest of the team around, to turn the tables.

France still got two shots at wrapping it up in four, but USA cancelled their two match points in the fourth to force a tie-break. Then, inspired by the passionate home crowd at the maginificent Stade Pierre-Mauroy, France kept their cool to retain the edge over the Americans throughout the fifth, as Stephen Boyer bagged a match-high 31 points. The final score was 3-2 (25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 24-26, 15-13)

Russia totally annihilated Brazil 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-14) in what was the lowest-scoring game so far in the entire VNL, at just 49 points by the reigning Olympic champions. The European champions put up an impenetrable block and got the points in from all around as coach Sergei Shliapnikov stuck religiously to his starting lineup without using a single sub throughout the game.