Italy have never won a gold medal in their last 10 Olympic participations. Their highest achievements so far are silver medal finishes at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004. They have also won bronze in three occasions – Los Angeles 1984, Sydney 2000 and London 2012. Since 1976, the Italian squad have not missed any edition of the Olympic Games and their latest qualification was achieved through the first qualification tournament, which was the World Cup in Japan last year. The Italians finished second behind the United States after they defeated Poland on the last day of the Round Robin tournament.
Although Italy won a bronze medal at the 1948 European Championship, which they hosted, it was only in the early 1970s that they became a major force in the sport. The Italians enjoyed a lengthy period of domination under the guidance of Julio Velasco. From 1989 to 2005, Italy won three World Championships, one World Cup, six European Championships, eight World Leagues and three Olympic medals. Italy have a proud volleyball history, having competed in all 27 editions of the World League, they finished fifth in last year’s edition after their bronze medal finish on home territory in Florence in 2014. They beat Iran 3-0 to take bronze, but failed to end a 14-year gold medal drought. The Azzurri have eight titles, one fewer than Brazil, and they will be looking to repeat their 1995 heroics when they beat the South Americans in the final in front of 25,000 passionate fans in Rio de Janeiro. At the 2014 World Championship, Italy finished joint-13th after coming seventh in their second round pool, despite earning podium finishes throughout 2013.