Italy began their Olympic journey in Sydney 2000, and since then, they have consistently qualified to succeeding editions of the quadrennial. After placing equal-ninth in 2000, they finished a triple joint-fifth at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Italy qualified to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after finishing first in the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan in May 2016. They will now play in their fifth consecutive Olympic Games. Italy had better performances in other competitions, as they won the World Championship title in 2002, the World Cup titles in 2007 and 2011, and the Grand Champions Cup in 2009. The summer of 2014 was Italy’s big chance to impress as they hosted the women’s World Championship. In front of a large and often passionate crowd at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan, they went all the way to the semifinals where they lost to China before being defeated by powerhouses Brazil in the bronze medal match.
At the World Grand Prix, Italy had a fifth place finish at the 2013 edition, Italy dropped to ninth in 2014 and jumped four places high at fifth in 2015 under the guidance of Marco Bonitta. The Italians had a good run at the World Grand Prix after the turn of the millennium, winning silver medals in 2004 and 2005 and bronze in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. But performances have dipped recently with 2013’s fifth being preceded by finishes of seventh in 2011 and 10th in 2012.