Italy have competed in all 27 editions of the FIVB Volleyball World League – a feat matched only by Brazil – completely dominating the first decade of the competition with 8 gold medals in the first 11 editions. They haven’t won another gold since then, but have consistently been on the podium, including recent bronze medals in 2013 and 2014, before finishing 5th last year.
Last year saw Italy claim the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, losing to hosts Brazil in the final in their third unsuccessful shot at Olympic gold after Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004. Nonetheless, Italy have won the FIVB World Championship three times in 1990, 1994 and 1998. Most recently they ranked 13th in the 2014 edition in Poland.
Although Italy won a bronze medal at the 1948 European Championship it was only in the early 1970s that they became a major force in the sport. They won a bronze at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games before a lengthy period of domination under Julio Velasco’s guidance. From 1989 to 2005, Italy won three World Championships, one World Cup, six European Championships, eight World Leagues and three Olympic medals.