A consistent high performer in the Asian Championship, 2014 provides Iran with a serious opportunity to notch their highest finish at a World Championship as they look back on four years of strong international play. Iran, who qualified in September 2013, have competed in four previous World Championships, twice finishing 19th (1998, 2010) and twice 21st (1970, 2006).
But the Iranians will look at more recent events as a sign that the nation is growing fast as a volleyball power. Having won back-to-back Asian Championships in 2011 and 2013, they placed fourth in the 2013 Grand Champions Cup behind the three best teams in the world – Brazil, Russia and Italy. A stunning fourth place finish in this year’s World League has catapulted them into contention for a top-six finish in Poland.
Iran finished second in the 2010 Asian Games, ninth in the 2011 World Cup, and ninth again in the 2013 World League in their first appearance in the competition. A year later, Iran became the first Asian team to qualify for the World League semifinals, where they lost to Russia 3-2 and defeated Brazil before losing to eventual winners USA in the semifinals and Italy in the playoff for bronze.