The 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship will be the 19th edition of the International Volleyball Federation’s signature event for men’s national teams. It will come after the record-breaking FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014, which saw over half a million fans attend the 103 matches in the competition.
For the first time ever, Italy and Bulgaria will have the honour of jointly hosting the FIVB’s premier volleyball event – the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, which will take place from September 10 to 30 with matches being held in Italian city Florence, Bulgarian cities Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia and Varna, while the finals will be held in Turin, Italy.
In 2014, Poland was the 11th country to host the FIVB Men’s World Championship, after Czechoslovakia (1949, 1966), the Soviet Union (1952, 1962), France (1956, 1986), Brazil (1960, 1990), Argentina (1982, 2002), Italy (1978, 2010), Japan (1998, 2006), Bulgaria (1970), Mexico (1974) and Greece (1994).
While 113 teams competed for a ticket to the 2010 World Championship, this number had risen to 148 for the 2014 edition with national teams ranging from Guadeloupe and the Ivory Coast to Yemen.
There were a total of 103 matches, set in a new competition format for the 24 qualified teams in Poland. The teams were spread across four pools of six teams playing in a round-robin system with the top four teams advancing to a second round of preliminary matches featuring two pools of eight teams. The top three countries from each pool advanced to the third-round phase, followed by the semifinals and finals.
The rapid growth in the number of countries involved in the tournament’s qualifying process is emphatic proof of just how tough the competition is around the world.
With six titles to its name, Russia’s predecessor, the Soviet Union, is the most successful nation since the first World Championship took place in 1949. However, it is now 32 years since their last gold medal, which they won in 1982 in Buenos Aires.
Taking the gold medal on three occasions each are Brazil (2002, 2006, 2010) and Italy (1990, 1994, 1998), while Czechoslovakia and Poland triumphed on two occasions (1956, 1966 for Czechoslovakia and 1974 and 2014 f), and East Germany (1970), USA (1986) and Poland (1974) each have one title to their name. It goes without saying that the many volleyball fans in the host nation are hoping for Poland to repeat their World Championship triumph in Mexico City in 1974.