Japan coach Masashi Nambu and France coach Laurent Tillie
Kyoto, Japan, June 5, 2015 - After splitting wins with their opening match opponents the Czech Republic last weekend, Japan are gearing up to host a tough French squad in Kyoto on Saturday in leg 2 of their FIVB Volleyball World League 2015 campaign. France won their two first matches against Korea, but not without some difficulty. Japan and France met in Kyoto last year, with France victorious in both contests.
Japan are much improved this year, however, and will surely be energized by the home crowd. But will that boost be enough to beat France, who have lost only three of their last 19 World League matches? We will find that out this weekend.France coach Laurent Tillie said:
"This World League competition is very important for us. Last year we managed to get fourth place in the [FIVB Volleyball Men's] World Championships in Poland. That was good, and I hope we can be motivated by those results, and achieve a positive result here in the World League as well. Our goal for this competition is to make the final four of our group and move on to Rio [Brazil] for the Finals.
"The Japanese team are much improved since last year, and their blocking and attacking is much better, I feel. I think our team is a little weak in blocking, so we’ve been concentrating on our serve leading up to this. … [Yuki] Ishikawa plays very beautifully, and he has lots of talent. He hits all the angles, and has progressed a lot. [Kunihiro] Shimizu always plays well, very well-balanced. And [Hideomi] Fukatsu has a wide range of passing styles, and I think his play is very nice."Japan coach Masashi Nambu said: "
Last year our teams had two matches here in Kyoto, and at that time there was a large gap between the two teams. For the next two matches against France, our team will see how they have improved, and use what they’ve learned over the past year.
"[Players that stand out are] Number nine (Earvin Ngapeth), who plays for Modena (Italy) and played with Yuki Ishikawa last year, and Kevin Tillie is impressive as well. They don’t make many mistakes, and they have a very consistent side-out. Our team has been focused on our receiving for the past week, and that will be an important point for us in the next two days.”