Bulgaria returns to the World League after
a four-year absence and will be, more than ever,
ready to prove any doubters on their quality wrong. This Eastern European team, ranked 20th on the FIVB world rankings, is traditionally strong and on their day can quite easily cause an upset.
Last year's World Championship in Argentina was a perfect illustration of the calibre of this team. On route to a 13th place finish Bulgaria defeated the World League title holders Russia 3-0 before pushing eventual World Championship bronze medallists France to five sets all
during pool play. Unfortunately it was during the second round when Bulgaria went down to Italy, Argentina and Japan to destroy any chance of progressing
Previous history in the World League includes a five-year
streak from 1994-1998 when their best finish was fourth in 1994. Since then their form has tailed off
and yet proved unpredictable.
They have done well in European Championships finishing sixth in 2001 and seventh in 1999 but failure to qualify for the Sydney Olympics was a mystery.
This is a team, which reached the 1996 Olympics quarterfinals
and has won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze at World
Championship level and is consistently scene as one of the dark horses of world volleyball.
Other teams will be wise not to underestimate the power of
this Bulgarian side.