France, ROC set to square off for men's volleyball gold at Tokyo 2020

France has never won a volleyball medal at the Olympic Games. Could gold be their first? The French men do battle with ROC for the title. Here's what to know. 

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

France have never won a medal in volleyball at the Olympic Games.

Could the men's team make the first a gold at Tokyo 2020?

France, currently ranked No.4 in FIVB world rankings, took out No.3 Poland in the quarter-finals, then defeated No.6 Argentina in the semis to advance to the gold medal match.

They will meet the ROC in the final, set for Saturday (7 August) at 21:15 JST (14:15 CEST).

The two defeated teams from the semi-finals, Brazil and Argentina, will meet for the bronze.

Brazil were the reigning men's Olympic champion, having defeated Italy at home in Rio 2016.

France is riding the wave of its success at the Nations League event, which finished in late June. The French team won 11 games there, advancing to the semi-finals, before being knocked out by eventual champs Brazil.

The ROC and France met at Nations League in round-robin play, the French beating the Russians 3-1. They met again in group play here in Tokyo, with the French emerging victorious again - 3-1.

See how both teams made their way to the Olympic title match.

Story of the Games for: France

It's a big weekend for French men's teams: Volleyball, basketball, and handball will all play for gold. And all on Saturday.

In group play, France escaped by a hair, having a 2-3 record with losses to the U.S. (in three sets), Argentina, and Brazil.

But the losses to Argentina and Brazil were tight ones, 3-2, and in the quarter-finals, Poland (with a 4-1 record) let a two-sets-to-one lead slip, France capturing the fifth 15-9. Jean Patry led the way with 21 kills.

In the semi-finals, France turned the tables on an Argentina team that had beaten them just days earlier, sweeping by 25-22, 25-19, 25-22. Patry was again the go-to on the attack, connecting for 15 kills. France out-attacked and out-blocked and overwhelmed Argentina.

The French are coached by two-time Olympian Laurent Tillie, who coaches professionally in Japan. He will step down after Tokyo 2020 - could he go out with a gold?

Earvin Ngapeth is dangerous on the attack for France, as well, while Nicolas Le Goff has been a wall on blocks. Captain Benjamin Toniutti runs the floor as setter. Also watch out for Trevor Clevenot.

Story of the Games for: ROC

The ROC was an impressive 4-1 in group play, with wins over Brazil, the U.S., Argentina, and Tunisia. But their aforementioned loss? That came to France.

The ROC team, who finished fourth in Rio, have been locked in since, however, with a breezy 3-0 win over Canada in the quarters and then a 3-1 triumph over Brazil to make a first Olympic final since London 2012.

Watch out for attacking from Maxim Mikhaylov and Egor Kliuka.

When and how to watch

The men's volleyball medal games will take place on Saturday (7 August) for both the bronze and the gold inside the Ariake Arena.

13:30 JST Argentina v Brazil - Bronze

21:15 JST France v ROC - Gold

Not sure where or how you can watch the medal match-ups? Find out here.

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