Nick Matthew after England's victory over Argentina
“Argentina were tough opponents. We knew they were seeded low compared to their actual level and their tie against Finland will actually be interesting. Besides, when they play for their country some players might give more than what they normally would. And when you find yourself one game down in a team match, rankings don't matter anymore … As far as I am concerned, I went on there to impose my game. Conditions are tough, it's quite cold so you have to play simple and use some height on the front wall. I am also happy with the performance of the team, although I am sure James would have liked to have a shorter match (author's note: Willstrop won in 5 games against Pezzota). Yes, it's my last Men's World Team Championship, and it's always a pleasure to put the England jersey on. I've won the events three times before and I'd love to make it four, but there's still a long way to go.”
France's national coach Renan Lavigne after his team's win against Ireland
“The Irish team put on a good fight. They have a rest day tomorrow so they played with their top 3 players and they tried their best. But we expected it, and we also needed it.
Playing at night is not ideal, especially since it was cold out there. We talked about it while preparing the matches and during the warm-up, and our players were aware they needed to be careful at the beginning not to pick any injuries. As far as Lucas is concerned, it doesn't really matter that it was his debut in the event because he has a lot of experience. The fact that he struggled at the start is rather due to the conditions. Besides, he's a very chilled guy and doesn't tend to be nervous. We are playing Canada tomorrow, they are supposedly better than Ireland, so we are not taking anything for granted.
Playing in front of our home crowd doesn't bring any extra pressure, in fact we are pretty relaxed. It's like any other tournament really, the guys are friends and used to encourage each other on the tour. They have their own routines and they know how to prepare. Of course, it would be huge for this generation to win this title, but it's too early to think about that. We are also aware that this championship is important within the context of the olympic bid, especially since the Minister of Sports will be here on Friday. All eyes are on us this week ...”
By Jérôme Elhaïk
Pictures from Philippe Rochais