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World League 2010
21st Edition

 FRA / France - Team Composition

Team manager Gérard Castan
Head coach Philippe Blain
Assistant coach Olivier Lecat
Doctor Etienne Barbiche
Therapist / trainer Jean-Paul Andréa
Journalist Nicolas Baillou
  No.   Name Lastname Shirt Name Birthdate Height Weight Spike Block Club
  1 Yannick Bazin Bazin 18/06/1983 190 95 337 315 Galatazarai
  2   Hubert Henno Henno 6/10/1976 188 92 330 310 Tours VB
  3 Gérald Hardy-Dessources Hardy-Dessources 9/02/1983 197 93 360 335 Tours VB
  4   Antonin Rouzier Rouzier 18/08/1986 200 102 350 330 Istanbul Sehir Belediyesi
  5 Romain Vadeleux Vadeleux 12/02/1983 196 100 355 335 Lube Macerata
  6   Jean-Stéphane Tolar Tolar 4/07/1984 199 90 330 309 Tourcoing VLM
  7 Benjamin Toniutti Toniutti 30/10/1989 183 72 320 300 ZAKSA KÄ™dzierzyn-Koźle (POL)
  8   Earvin Ngapeth Ngapeth 12/02/1991 194 96 358 327 MODENA (ITA)
  9 Guillaume Samica Samica 28/09/1981 198 88 355 327 Zaksa
  10   Jean-Philippe Sol Sol 1/01/1986 198 92 345 325 Arago de Sète
  11 Edouard Rowlandson Rowlandson 20/07/1988 190 89 330 310 Arago de Sète
  12   Nicolas Marechal Marechal 4/03/1987 198 93 338 327 Istanbul Sehir Belediyesi
  13 Pierre Pujol Pujol 13/07/1984 186 90 335 315 AS Cannes VB (FRA)
  14   Meliuahel Takaniko Takaniko 29/05/1985 194 92 340 330 TOAC TUC (FRA)
  15 Samuele Tuia Tuia 24/07/1986 195 95 345 325 Skra Belchatov
  16   Emmanuel Ragondet Ragondet 6/08/1987 191 77 338 320 Arago de Sète
  C 17 Oliver Kieffer Kieffer 27/08/1979 200 85 355 335 Stade Poitevin
  18   Jean-François Exiga Exiga 9/03/1982 176 75 320 312 Tours VB
  19 Baptiste Geiler Geiler 12/03/1987 198 93 335 318 Friedrichshafen
 C=Captain  L=Libero
Team profile

The French men’s National Team announced their arrival as one of the best teams in the world when they finished second losing against Brazil n the 2006 FIVB World League Finals in Moscow.

The side, who finished fifth in the first-ever World League in 1990, negotiated a tricky passage through to the Finals, playing in Russia, China and Italy.

By the end of August, it was mission accomplished. Head Coach Philippe Blain’s men had booked themselves a place in Moscow after winning pool matches against the Russians, Italians and Chinese, home and away.

In the final, France lost in five sets against Brazil, but it was still their crowning glory so far in the world of Volleyball, and set them up nicely for the 2006 FIVB World Championship in Japan.

France had won the bronze medal at the 2002 FIVB World Championship in Buenos Aires, their first appearance in the tournament in 12 years moving them from 10th to fifth in the FIVB world rankings, and after their silver medal at the 2003 European Championship and the impressive World League performance three years later they had every right to be in a confident mood.

The 2006 World Championships started very well for the French when they beat Brazil, which would prove to be the only defeat of the event for the eventual winners.

Unfortunately, the young French team did not capitalize on the result and a few days later lost to Germany, which negated all the benefits of the Brazil win.

During the second phase, France lost to Bulgaria in an incredible game, killing off any lingering hopes of French glory and they finally finished sixth after losing to Italy in a Playoff.

In the 2007 World League Preliminary Round, the French were up against Japan, Italy and USA. Victims of the Americans, the French missed out on first place in their Pool. Blain and his players were given a lifeline, though, with a wild card for the final phase in Katowice, Poland. But after losing a five-set match against Poland, the French team were on their way home.

The French had to quickly pick themselves up in November 2007 for the European Championship in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Bad news struck, though, when Blain lost three of his major players. Frantz Granvorka and Oliver Kieffer were injured just before leaving France, and Pierre Pujol was ruled out of the rest of the tournament after injuring his ankle in the first set of the first game against Slovakia.

Even so, France started well with two victories versus Slovakia and Slovenia before losing to Spain. But in this second phase, the French lost against Serbia, Netherlands and Germany to finish ninth.

In 2008, France missed the main goal of the past few years; qualification for the Olympic Games. After this terrible disappointment, Philippe Blain's squad did not do as well as hoped in the 2008 World League. Third in its group behind Brazil and Serbia, France finished in 10th place.

In 2009, the French had the opportunity to reach the Final Six in the World League. Serbia, host country for the final, qualified but France failed to take the second ticket in the last game in Argentina. In the middle of the summer, France booked the qualification for World Championships in Poland after beating Slovakia and Slovenia. The bad news was that Pierre Pujol, the setter, was injured for 3 months and Loïc Le Marrec decided to retire from international team.

In Turkey, for the European championships, the French squad wanted to make the final round. Two new setters completed the team and Yannick Bazin started to lead the games with success: step by step France reached the Main Round and the Final round after beating the defending champions, Spain. In the semi-finals, France were up by 2-0 against Russia and close to losing after 2-2 and 9-13. But Philippe Blain's players came back and Guillaume Samica, with a last ace, concluded the match (17-15).

In the final, Poland beat France (3-1) to conquer the European title. Antonin Rouzier (best scorer), Hubert Henno and Stéphane Antiga were elected to the all-star team. France, six years after, clinched the silver medal in the European Championships.

In 2010, France will aim to do its best in the World League (they are in the pool with Serbia, China and Italy) and will prepare for the World Championships due to take place later this year. The ultimate goal will be a qualification for the Olympic Games in London 2012.

Coach profile

PHILIPPE BLAIN : FIVB Coaching Commission President Philippe Blain, named France's Head Coach in 2001, also enjoyed a successful playing career. He played 340 times for the French National Team from 1980 to 1991 and was elected MVP at the 1986 FIVB World Championships and 1987 European Championships.

He started his professional career as a setter with the French Junior Team, a position he also played in the French National Championship, before changing to receiver for the French Senior National Team. He ended his professional career at Italian Club Cuneo before devoting himself to training players, taking charge at Italy’s Cuneo and France’s Cannes and Sète Arago.

The highlights of the 50-year-old’s career so far as France Head Coach are a bronze medal at the 2002 World Championships in Argentina, silver at the 2003 and 2009 European Championships, qualification for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and silver at the 2006 World League Finals.


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