Team Profile

SCG/Serbia and Montenegro

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Ever since claiming the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, Serbia and Montenegro (the former Yugoslavia) has consistently been in the mix when it comes to considering medal contenders for international men’s Volleyball events.

Big, strong and fast, the Serbia and Montenegro side play with a passion that is unrelenting and enjoy playing a game that is offence accentuated.

Coach Ljubomir Travica, has been in charge of the “Blue Team” ever since they finished runner’s up to Brazil in an epic 2003 World League final, which was decided at 31-29 in the fifth set tiebreaker, in a match lasting just seven minutes shy of two hours. He immediately took Serbia and Montenegro to two bronze medals - the 2003 World Cup and the 2004 World League - and despite a disappointing fifth place finish at the 2004 Olympic Games (after being beaten by Russia in the quarterfinals) Travica will no doubt be pinning his hopes on bringing some new talent through during the 2005 World League to build on the good work of yesteryear.

Serbia and Montenegro has a long history in the sport. Although anecdotes exist to indicate that Volleyball had already appeared in this Balkan country as early as 1918, there is documented proof that in 1924, Californian William Whiland officially introduced the game in 1924. More than two decades later, the Yugoslav Volleyball Federation, which has now become the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and Montenegro, was one of the 14 FIVB founding members. The national team has participated in international competitions since 1951, when on that occasion they finished fifth at the European Championship.

In 1956 the Yugoslavs contested their first World Championship in France, placing 10th and have qualified six times since, achieving their best result, a silver medal, in 1998 in Japan. In Argentina in 2002 they finished fourth after France deprived them of the bronze medal. But it is at the Olympics that Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia) has really shown what they are capable of. They placed sixth in Moscow (1980), improving at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta to win the bronze, and finally, as a result of the team's hard work under the guidance of the tranquil-natured, but steady handed coach Zoran Gajic, claiming the gold in Sydney 2000.

It was Gajic who took the talented team and made them soar high into the ranks of the world elite and following one second place and four bronze medals at European championships, Gajic's squad claimed the European title in 2001 in the Czech Republic. Just two years later in Germany, however, Serbia & Montenegro relinquished their European crown, ending the competition just outside the medal places in fourth.

That result prompted a change at the helm. Veselin Vukovic replaced Gajic just prior to the 2002 World Championship in Argentina, where the Olympic champions finished a creditable fourth. Vukovic continued to lead Serbia and Montenegro through a stunning 2003 World League campaign but after failing to come to an agreement with the national federation Vukovic quit and was replaced by Travica who took Serbia and Montenegro to a bronze medal finish at the 2003 World Cup.

Now in 2005, with the 2006 World Championships also on the agenda, Travica will have his hands full moulding his side, which still contains big names such as the crafty skipper Nikola Grbic, Andrija Geric, Goran Vujevic and the free scoring Ivan Miljkovic but is missing Vladimir Grbic and Dula Mester.

With Greece, Argentina and Poland in the same group, Pool C will be a fascinating show down to see who joins Serbia and Montenegro (automatic qualifiers due to final round host status) in advancing through to the final round.

Overall Standings for
Serbia and Montenegro
World League Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
7 110 69 41 62.7