Greek Volleyball is riding a wave of popularity and
confidence following a stunning 2004 where the menís
team finished in fifth place both in the World
League and the Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
Greeceís World League performance was not only a
fantastic result for a youthful team that played
with skill and exuberance all the way but they
showed soon after, in front of their home fans that
it wasnít a one-hit wonder as they played out of
their skins to reach the quarterfinals on their
first Olympics only to be on the wrong side of one
of the most amazing comebacks in Olympic history.
With Greece leading USA 2-1 and morale sky-high,
they started the fourth set with a six-point-streak
to lead 6-0. With the score at 20-12 for Greece, USA
began the unthinkable. An unbelievable 9-1
point-rally - led by Ryan Millar and Thomas Hoff-
tied the scores at 21-21. The Greeks were shell
shocked by this and gave up the set to see the match
into the tiebreaker.
The scenario was repeated in the tiebreaker. Greece
led 12-9 and needed only three points to win.
However, the US once again turned things around.
They tied the score at 12-12, while the Greek side
were unable to grab the biggest win in their history
despite being the first team to reach match-point.
USA kept their nerve and celebrated a thrilling
17-15 victory in a match that lasted two hours and
Now with that behind them, Greece will be hoping to
build further on an incredible 2004 where they moved
from 13th to 8th on the FIVB world rankings. And
despite a change in coach with Charitonidis Konst
coming in for Stelios Prosalikas, all of the Olympic
squad are returning to the World League so once
again Greek fans will be counting on inspirational
captain Marios Giourdas and heavy hitters Andrej
Kravarik, Vassilis Kournetas, Konstantinos
Christofidelis, Antonis Tsakiropoulos and Sotiris
It was a physical education instructor from Athens,
Anastasios Lefkadites, who was the first to teach
Volleyball in Greece in 1922, but Greece was quick
to affiliate itself with the FIVB, just two years
after its founding in 1947 when in 1949, the country
joined the sport's governing body. Three years later
Greece played the very first international match
against France in Paris. Although they lost 3-1 the
Greeks played well, prompting a positive comment
from a French newspaper, which said: "The Greeks
surprised with their excellent brio, wit and
artfulness." Today Greece continues to exhibit these
qualities. Despite the early start, a systematic
development of the sport in the country had to wait
until the foundation of the Hellenic Volleyball
Federation in 1970.
In 1986, Greece qualified for the first time for the
World Championship and placed 13th in France. Next
year, the national team achieved a major success and
won the bronze at the European Championship in
Belgium. In 1994, Greece hosted the World
Championship in its capital, Athens, and achieved a
valuable sixth place before becoming one of many
surprise packages at the 2002 World Championship in
Argentina, finishing a solid seventh and sending a
strong signal about the determination of their
preparation for the 2004 Olympics.
Greece joined the elite teams in the World League in
1993 and so far participated in eight editions of
the competition. In 2001 they returned to the
prestigious League for the first time since 1998 and
almost made it to the finals before finishing ninth.
The following year, the team, whose objective was
obviously Athens 2004, produced effective and
entertaining Volleyball before finishing ninth again
while in 2003 and 2004, Greece further improved to
finish seventh and fifth respectively.
In the 2005 World League, Greece will meet Serbia &
Montenegro, Argentina and Poland in Pool C.
Overall Standings for Greece
World League Played
Total Matches played