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Le Goff and Clevenot challenge Dutch opposite Nimir at the net

Three members of the squad that helped France win gold at last year’s Tokyo Olympics played their first match in this season's Volleyball Nations League and propelled the European giants to their fifth win in the tournament.

With team captain and setter Benjamin Toniutti, middle blocker Nicolas Le Goff and outside hitter Trevor Clevenot all on the court for the first time, the team coached by Italian legend Andrea Giani dominated the Netherlands, sweeping (25-14, 25-23, 25-13) their European rivals in Quezon City, the Philippines.

· Watch all VNL 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

The impact caused by Toniutti’s presence was clear as the French put in place a fast-paced and varied offence against the Dutch. The team also saw all five of their starting hitters end the match with a similar number of points – opposite Stephen Boyer was the most efficient of all, leading the team with 15 (11 kills, four blocks).

“It’s always good to start the week with a straight-set victory,” Toniutti commented. “We didn’t play yesterday, so they were on a little bit of a better rhythm than we were, but we started well and that gave us confidence. We have more Olympic champions on the team this week, but it’s a new season, we have new goals and we’re focused on what we have to do to be in the best shape during the entire summer.”

Benjamin Toniutti Assists Leader in France vs. Netherlands

The 2.07m-tall Le Goff improved France's blocking efficiency by leading the team with six blocks, the highest mark by any player in the match. He was dominant at the net oin the second set, registering three blocks in four plays to help the Olympic champions turn a 13-11 deficit into a 15-13 lead.

Blocking was one of the main differences between the two teams. France stopped their opponents at the net as many as 12 times, with the Dutch managing to do the same just once.

Nicolas Le Goff Successful Blocks Leader in France vs. Netherlands

Clevenot left the court with 11 points (nine kills, two aces) and was also active on the backcourt with four digs. He had an ace to score 14-13 for the French in the second set, during a phase of the match when the Dutch were challenging the Olympic champions vigorously.

Dutch star opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz had a quiet night by his standards with 11 points (ten kills, one ace), but still led his team’s scoring efforts.

After their victory against the Dutch, the French will have a day off before their next match, against Japan, on Saturday, at 15.00 local time (07.00 GMT).