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Until recently Cuba was one of the sport's undisputed powerhouses with an impressive history of success in international competitions, however after a number of the national team defected in 2001, the team has had to fast track some of its next generation players - very young but already impressive - into the national side.

This had the immediate impact of results falling on the weigh side. Since 2000, Cuba has finished 8th, 5th, 13th, 13th and 7th last year after finishing no worst than fourth between 1991 and 1999. The World League was another successful story for Cuba which has participated in all editions of this elite competition except the first in 1990. Cuba shares the honor of being one of the most successful teams in the World League, winning the title in 1998, taking second place on five occasions as well as one third-place. But more recent results have painted a different picture.

Last yearís seventh place finish (four wins from 12 matches including a victory over Italy and Serbia and Montenegro) was an encouraging result for coach Roberto Garcia, who has been in charge on the menís team since the end of 2003. It was a sign that his young team was starting to blossom, particularly with the likes of TomŠs Aldazabal, Yasser Portuando, Henry Bell, Odelvis Dominico Speek and captain Pavel Pimienta Allen starting to form the nucleus of a very talented side.

Itís no secret that Cuban Volleyball is based on the fresh skill and enthusiasm of youth and 2005 will be a good gauge to see if this team is starting to mould itself into a side that can return Cuban Volleyball to its glory days.

With world number two Italy, Bulgaria (ranked 13th) and France (ranked 6th) in their group, Cuba, ranked 16th in the world, will have to pull off some upsets but if anyone is capable of doing so, itís Garcia and his men. One thing is for sure, spectators are guaranteed a great show.

Cubaís rich Volleyball history hasnít only been restricted to World League. Cuba's best World Championship appearance came in Brazil in 1990 where they claimed the silver medal, while at two World Championships in Italy (1978) and Japan (1998) Cuba won the bronze. However, the showing of the youthful team at the 2002 World Championship in Argentina was less impressive, with Cuba scoring a disappointing 19th position and catching an early flight home after first round elimination. At Olympic tournaments, Cuba's best results have been the bronze medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and a fourth place in Barcelona (1992).

Overall Standings for Cuba
World League Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
14 221 138 83 62.4