France made history on Thursday at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as they defeated Argentina 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22) in the men’s semifinals at Ariake Arena to set up a summit clash against ROC on Saturday at 21.15.

France played in the Olympic Games four times before Tokyo 2020 and their best achievement was an eighth-place finish at Seoul 1988. The next Olympic Games hosts are guaranteed to win at least a silver medal in Tokyo.

Jean Patry (FRA)

Jean Patry played an all-around game and led France with 15 points built from 11 attacks, two blocks and two aces, while Trevor Clevenot scored all his 14 points on attacks. Earvin Ngapeth joined the French double-digit scoring club with his 12 markers.

On the side of Argentina, only Facundo Conte breached the double-digit mark with his 13 points, while Bruno Lima was limited to just nine.

“We wanted to win this match and we had a lot of pressure because it was to play for the final. We were a bit stressed on the court and it was difficult to play our opponents. I did some good things and some were average, but I am happy that this is a collective sport and today we played as a team. This is the most important thing,” Patry said.

“We played well and with good spirit. I think this was the key to our win. It’s not perfect, but since we won 3-0, then that for sure was a good match for us,” Clevenot added.

France came into the match in fighting form and capitalised on a number of players performing well led by Jean Patry, while Argentina relied only on their opposite Bruno Lima to run their offence in the first set. France closed the set untroubled at 25-22, even after their South American counterparts ran them close at various stages.

France started the second set with much more confidence than the first as Trevor Clevenot went on a seven-point attacking outburst. Facundo Conte tried to match that intensity on Argentina's side, but the French implemented better defence and scored more attacks to win the second set easily at 25-19.

France continued their attack in the third set utilising the power of their wing spikers Patry and Clevenot to claim an early lead. But Argentina tried to match that firepower with their outside hitters Conte and Cristian Poglajen and the help of their middles Sebastian Sole and Agustin Loser.

France gained a 23-21 lead from an attack error by Poglajen, then an attack by Earvin Ngapeth and a block by Barthelemy Chinenyeze secured their spot in the gold medal match at 25-22.

“We had the possibility to win in that last set, but our game went down too. We came so close, but they played such a great game. We have to think about playing against Brazil now because they are a tough team. Of course there is a medal at stake so we will do our best. We are trying to make history too in this Olympic Games, so we will try to win,” Argentina opposite Lima said.