The golden generation of French volleyball, led by innkeepers Earvin Ngapeth, Benjamin Toniutti, Jénia Grebennikov and Kévin Tillie, therefore retains a significant power of attraction.

Even before the Olympic title won in Tokyo in August 2021, the legendary Brazilian Bernardinho had agreed to take over from Laurent Tillie after the Olympic tournament in Japan at the end of August to lead this team.

And only a week after the surprise resignation of Bernardinho for personal reasons, the Blues managed to recover in their net another big name, Andrea Giani, who had nevertheless extended his lease with the German selection at the end of January, with which he has since been engaged. 2017.

"It gives me real satisfaction to be the new coach of this world-class team, reigning Olympic champions, which has the potential to win all the competitions in which it participates", underlined the new coach, whose first gathering is scheduled for May for the League of Nations scheduled for June and July.

This VNL (Volleyball Nations League) must serve as full-scale preparation for the World Cup (August 26-September 11), the only competition that has not yet succeeded in defeating Ngapeth, European champion in 2015 and Olympic champion in 2021 .

Coach of Ngapeth in Modena

Former central, but also receiver-attacker and sharp of the Nazionale, Andrea Giani was part of the great Italian team of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, winning a multitude of international medals with the "Fenomeni": the silver at the Olympics in 1996 and 2004 - beaten in the final in Athens by Brazil's Bernardinho - the European title in 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2003, and the world title in 1990, 1994 and 1998.

Coach Andrea Giani during the semi-finals of the European qualifications for Tokyo-2020 between his team, Germany, and Bulgaria on January 9, 2020 in Berlin John MACDOUGALL AFP / Archives

We can add to this list seven coronations in the World League between 1991 and 2000, and two Champions Leagues, in club with Modena.

But the 51-year-old Italian also shone in the coaching costume.

Coach of Slovenia, he carried the young nation to the final of the Euro in 2015, lost against … France, then replaced Germany in the final of the Euro in 2017, lost against Russia.

"After having been one of the best players in the world, he is today one of the very best coaches", estimated the president of the French Federation Éric Tanguy, specifying that he had been interested in Giani at the spring 2021 to succeed Tillie.

"Andrea Giani has been used since he embarked on his coaching career to coach the greatest players, we are very satisfied that he has accepted the challenge", added Éric Tanguy.

At club level, Giani currently manages Modena, where French volleyball star Earvin Ngapeth has been playing since this season.

"There is a large pool of very high level players in France, who only play in big clubs, which will allow me to manage the collective in a timely manner depending on the competitions", explained Giani.

He will have a World Cup this summer and a Euro next summer, plus three Nations Leagues (2022, 2023 and 2024) to take the French team to the Paris Games in 2024, with the aim of doubling the Olympic gold, a feat that only the Soviets (1964-1968) and the Americans (1984-1988) managed to achieve.

The appointment is given in a little over two years, at the Parc des expositions in the south of Paris.

© 2022 AFP