France made their Olympic debut in 1988 in Seoul, Korea, where they finished eighth overall. They returned in the following edition in Barcelona 1992 but dropped three places in the ranking. They missed the next two cycles and came back in Athens 2004, slightly improving their finish at joint-ninth. The Frenchmen’s recent surge in the world stage hopes to end their 12-year absence from the Olympic Games. France’s volleyball history dates back to the 1948 European Championship, where they took the silver medal. More recently, France finished second Brazil in the 2006 World League but they have had their share of disappointment in subsequent seasons. In 2009 World League, they narrowly missed making the Final Six, falling at the last hurdle to Argentina. They suffered another setback in the 2010 World League when they again missed the finals and finished 12th.
Much can be said about their past history but France are in a new era under head coach Laurent Tillie, one of the most decorated players in the national team's history. They catapulted to the top as they captured the 2015 World League title with an impressive sweep of their Group 2 matches and an even striking performance in the Group 1 Final Six in Rio de Janeiro. At the 2014 World League, they finished runners-up in Group 2. They topped Pool D with 10 wins from 12, and after sweeping Belgium in the Final Four semifinal, they were defeated in the final by hosts Australia in five sets. Their momentum carried on into the 2014 World Championship where they topped a second round pool ahead of hosts Poland and progressed all the way to the third-place match, before losing in straight sets to Germany. In the 2013 World League they finished 10th and they were fifth in the European Championship.