Despite a couple of setbacks, France was able to make it count where it mattered as they won the CEV Men’s Olympic Qualifier. Overall, eight teams competed in two groups of four teams where the top two nations advanced to the semi-finals. Only the winner of the tournament qualified to the Olympics. The CEV Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Berlin, Germany from January 5th to January 10th 2020.
Pool A was won by 2019 European Championships silver medalist Slovenia who defeated Belgium (3-0), Germany (3-2) and the Czech Republic (3-1). Also advancing was Germany who won over the Czech Republic and Belgium in straight sets. Belgium finished third in the group thanks to a 3-2 set victory over the Czech Republic.
Pool B began with a bit of a surprise as defending European Champion, Serbia lost its first match to France in straight sets. Serbia would recover to defeat the Netherlands 3-0, but a 3-2 set loss to Bulgaria during the final pool stage match ultimately doomed the nation as they finished third overall. The pool was won by Bulgaria who went undefeated while France, despite losing the Netherlands (3-2) during the final match also advanced to the semi-finals by finishing in second.
Slovenia appeared to have one foot into the final as they took a 2-0 lead over France during the semi-finals, but France was able to make a statement during the third set where they won 25-14 on route to coming back and winning 3-2. Joining France in the final was Germany where they defeated Bulgaria 3-1. The final and Olympic quota was won by France who defeated Germany in straight sets.
This is France’s second consecutive and fifth overall appearance at the Olympics. They will be looking to better their performance from 1988 where they finished eighth overall. Olympic volleyball qualification continues into the weekend with the next tournament expected to conclude being the men’s African qualifier set to finish tomorrow.
Men’s Indoor Tournament