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FRA/France

Labeled as a team that hasnít yet fulfilled its potential on the World League stage, France is in desperate need of a star studded performance to silence the critics who have been pillorying their past performances in this event. Failure to reach the finals in Madrid last time out meant that Les Blues had to settle for a 10th place finish in the competition.

France and its capital, Paris, have played an immensely important role for the development of international Volleyball. At a meeting held in Paris from April 18-20, 1947, Volleyball federations from 14 countries founded the Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB), the sport's governing body. Now, with its 218 affiliated national federations, the FIVB is the largest international sports federation in the world and boasts no less than 34,780,153 registered players and millions more who play the sport recreationally.

It was again Paris, who hosted the third World Championship in 1956 with 24 men's teams from four continents. That time France finished seventh. At another World Championship held in Paris 30 years later the French side finished sixth. In 2002, France pulled off one of the major surprises at the World Championship in Argentina when they overwhelmed the Olympic champions Yugoslavia to claim the bronze and set off a frenzy of media reporting on the national team. To add more glory to the teams best ever performance, Frantz Granvorka became the tournament's Best Server while Hubert Henno was awarded the Best Digger.

During the 1980s, France also fought to the top spot in Europe, winning the silver medal at the European Championship in 1987 (Belgium) and the bronze in 1985 (the Netherlands).
France also participated in the opening three editions of the World League then returned to the elite competition in 2000. In 2001, France qualified for the finals for the first time to finish fifth. In 2002, the French had a great start, winning the preliminary phase pool but the finals turned out to be a disappointment and gave no warning to their opposition that two months later they would power back into the international limelight and claim the World Championship bronze medal in Argentina. However the 2003 edition was a poor return for France as they stuttered their way to six wins from 12 matches to see Greece and the Czech Republic progress through to the World League Final Round ahead of them.

However, a huge confidence booster came in the form of a silver medal at the European Championships in Germany last year and the French subsequently added a fifth place finish at the World Cup in Japan a couple of months later. Judging on past performances perhaps those results are a good omen heading into the 2004 World League where they will face Bulgaria, Poland and Japan in the intercontinental rounds.

Prize Money
France Total Prize money US$
4 073 380
Overall Standings for France
World League Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
8 106 45 61 42.5