Italy enter the 2014 World Championship seeking a return to their glory days of the 1990s, when they took home three consecutive gold medals in the competition. Since those victories, in 1990, 1994 and 1998, it’s been a relative struggle for the squad, with a fourth-place finish in 2010 following successive fifth places in 2006 and 2002. Before that dominance of the 1990s, the team had managed just one previous medal finish, when they took silver in 1978. The Italians have competed in 15 of the 17 World Championships held, only missing out on the tournaments held in 1952 and 1960.
Italy enter this edition bolstered by strong performances in recent international competitions. They beat Bulgaria to take the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and also finished in third place in the 2013 and 2014 World Leagues.
In an impressive display of consistently high performance, Italy managed podium finishes in every competition they entered in 2013, winning gold in the Mediterranean Games, and silver in the European Championship and the World Grand Champions Cup. The World Grand Champions Cup campaign showed Italy can go toe-to-toe with the very best as they were the only team in the tournament to defeat a Russian squad considered by many to be the top side in the world.