The year 2016 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. More recently they ranked 13th in the 2014 edition in Poland, but failed to make the semifinals on home soil last year, when they finished 5th.
They also failed to make the Final Six in the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League, ranking 8th overall. This year Italy are fielding a brand new team of fresh talent in the 2019 VNL.
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.
Italy competed in all 28 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.