Yugoslavia pushed France to the limit in a challenging five-setter on Friday night that finally went the way of the visitors to Podgorica, Yugoslavia 3-2 (20-25, 25-23,25-21, 19-25, 15-11) in front of a packed sports hall throwing their weight behind the home team.
With Yugoslavia battling for a World League finals berth in Brazil, there was no ground given, despite temperatures in the hall of more than 30 degrees C and heavy humidity that often trapped the players in lapses of concentration.
France, as Pool D leaders had already advanced and this weekend decides the remaining berth - between Olympic Champions Yugoslavia and their classic Balkan rivals Greece, who have lifted their game immensely in the last rounds.
But even before the final match of the Intercontinental round on Sunday, Yugoslavia seems certain of taking the last place, even if Greece win their second match against Japan. The teams will then be level on 19 points and advancement will be on superior set average.
In other pool action, Poland beat Portugal and Brazil beat Argentina in Pool A, but both winning teams are already through. In Pool B, Italy and Spain are already in the final rounds, with China and Venezuela out of the race. Likewise, from Pool C Russia and Netherlands are also contesting a dead rubber this weekend with both teams through, while German and Cuba are eliminated.