Spain are a team in top form.
The short rein of Head Coach Andrea Anastasi was much to do with this. His goal when he arrived was the 2007 European Championship and he delivered when Spain won the gold medal in Moscow.
It was won in perfect fashion. Eight matches, eight victories, won by a compact team well directed by Anastasi off-court and setter Miguel Ángel Falasca on-court.
Veterans such as Rafael Pascual, Guillermo Falasca, José Luis Moltó, José Luis Lobato alongside youngsters such as Israel Rodríguez, Manuel Sevillano, Javier Subiela, Julián García-Torres, Ibán Pérez and Guillermo Hernán proved the perfect blend.
As Continental Champion, Spain qualified for the 2007 FIVB World Cup held in Japan, where the first three tickets for the Olympics Games were to be handed out.
Spain played at a good level throughout the tournament and overcame a tough start in which they lost to Bulgaria and Brazil. Coached by Argentine Marcelo Mendez, who had replaced Anastasi, Spain secured two important wins against USA and Egypt. But a surprising defeat against Puerto Rico put Spaniards out of contention for an Olympic place from the tournament.
Despite the disappointment, Spain picked up the pieces and, after losing against Russia, claimed five consecutive victories that secured fifth position, their best-ever performance.
This meant Spain made a huge jump in the FIVB world ranking – from 24th position to sixth position.
Spain have not always been so consistent. The 1990s were helped by the emergence of the charismatic Pascual as one of the world’s best players. A notable result was the sixth-place finish at the 1999 FIVB World Cup.
Spain then finished ninth in their first appearance in the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
In 2002, Spain paid the price for their brilliant fifth-place finish in the World League during the World Championship in Argentina. After a fair first round, the Spaniard seemed to run out of fuel in the second stage and couldn’t win a match.
Spain organised the World League Finals for the first time in 2003 and Madrid hosted the best Volleyball event in Spanish history. However, this success couldn’t be replicated on court, with Spain losing a key match against the Czech Republic and not qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time.
Things got worse in 2004. Despite organizing an excellent Olympic Qualification Tournament in Madrid, Spain couldn’t achieve the main goal of the year: to earn a ticket to Athens 2004.
Spain Head Coach Marcelo Mendez was born in Argentina in 1964. He finished his Physical Education degree in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1988. He is accredited as a National Coach for the National Federations of Argentina and Italy and also as an FIVB International Coach.
As Head Coach, he has led several clubs. In 1986, he coached Club Daom of Argentina, 1987-1988 Club Atlético River Plate, 1988-1990 Club Sociedad Fiat Ammauto of Italy, 1990-1991 Club Sociedad Poliesportiva Jonica of Italy, 1992-2004 Club Atlético River Plate of Argentina and 2004-2007 Club Voleibol Pórtol of Spain.
He has many achievements as Head Coach. In 1997, 1999 and 2000 he was Champion of the Metropolitan League in Argentina. In 1998-1999 he was Champion of the Argentine Clubs League.
In 2002, Vice-Champion of the Metropolitan League of Argentina. In 2004-2005, Vice-Champion of the Spanish Top League (Superliga) with C.V. Pórtol.
In 2004-2005, second in the CEV Final Four with C.V. Pórtol and Champions of the King Cup.
In 2006-2007 and 2007-2008, he was Spanish League Champion with C.V. Pórtol.