Volleyball is popular sport across the world. But which country has historically been the best in the sport? To settle the question, a rubric has been developed, which awards points based on tournament placement, both in the Summer Olympics and the FIVB World Championship. The results show that Russia and Brazil are the two most successful nations in men’s volleyball.
16 pts – 1st Place
8 pts – 2nd Place
4 pts – Places 3-4
2 pts – Places 5-8
1 pt – Places 9 -16
TOP 5 MOST SUCCESSFUL NATIONS IN VOLLEYBALL
1. Russia – 232 pts.
The Soviet Union team and its successor Russia have historically been the most dominant force in men’s volleyball. The team has won the Olympic gold medal four times, in 1964, 1968, 1980, and 2012. It also has four silver medals. The Soviet Union also won several FIVB World Championships, however Russia has yet to win one as an independent nation. Still it did get second place in 2002. The Soviet Union had a centralized sports system with strong government support, including funding, infrastructure, and resources. Russia has not had as much success since the breakup.
2. Brazil – 192 pts.
Another powerhouse in men’s volleyball is Brazil. Before 1980, the team did not have a lot of success. However since then Brazil has had more success than Russia. The Brazilian team has won the Olympic gold medal three times, in 1992, 2004, and 2016, and has also claimed the title of FIVB World Champions three times, in 2002, 2006, and 2010. The team is known for exceptional skill and athleticism. Players like Giba, Serginho, and Gustavo have been instrumental in Brazil’s success, earning multiple awards and accolades for their contributions to the team.
3. Italy – 137 pts.
Italy has arguably the best club volleyball league in the world. The Italian team has never won the Olympic gold medal, but it has won three silver medals and three bronze medals. Furthermore, it won the FIVB World Championship four times. The team won three straight tournaments in 1990, 1994, and 1998. Italy had an especially talented generation of volleyball players in the 1990s. Players like Andrea Giani, Lorenzo Bernardi, and Marco Bracci were known for their exceptional skills, including powerful attacks, precise serves, and strong defensive abilities. Italy also won the most recent FIVB World Championship in 2022.
4. Poland – 119 pts.
In recent years, Poland has been a formidable force in men’s volleyball. The Polish team won the FIVB World Championship in 2014 and 2018. The team also was second place in 2022. Players like Bartosz Kurek, Marcin Mozdzonek, and Michal Kubiak have been instrumental in Poland’s success, earning recognition for their exceptional performances and leadership on the court. However Poland has only won the Olympic gold medal once, in 1976. Still, since 2004 the team consistently made the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament.
5. United States – 109 pts.
Volleyball was invented in the United States in 1895 by William G. Morgan. However, the national team did not enjoy much success until the 1980s. Generational talents like Karch Kiraly, Steve Timmons, and Craig Buck led the US team to Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988, as well as the FIVB World Championship in 1986. Since that decade, the United States has had less success, but it did win the Olympic gold medal in 2008 and the bronze medal in 2016.
HISTORIC RANKING TABLE OF ALL NATIONAL TEAMS
Russia took over Soviet Union’s records
Serbia took over Yugoslavia’s records
Czech Republic took over Czechoslovakia’s records
Germany includes both East & West Germany’s records
|Russia (Soviet Union)||232||8||26||26||14||48||38||68||4|
|Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia)||81||0||1||2||1||5||12||44||16|