Men’s World Championship
The Men’s World Championship will be held for the twentieth time.
A brief history of volleyball’s premier event
The FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship is the sport’s most prestigious tournament and the oldest world-level competition on the volleyball calendar. It will have its 20th edition in Poland and Slovenia from August 26 to September 11, having been founded 73 years ago in 1949.
Volleyball TV will broadcast all FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2022 matches live.
In September 1949, two years after the FIVB was created in 1947, it hosted its inaugural Men’s World Championship in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Originally, Uruguay was planned to participate, but due to their withdrawal, the competition became an all-European affair with 10 teams. The USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria received the first batch of medals.
Each competition day at the Moscow 1952 Men’s World Championship drew around 25 thousand people.
The inaugural world champions hosted the second event in Moscow in 1952. India, Israel, and Lebanon were the first non-European teams to compete among the 11 participating teams. In the end, the podium was exactly the same as in 1949, with the Soviet Union winning their second gold medal, Czechoslovakia collecting silver, and Bulgaria getting bronze.
This World Championship, as well as the following two, were contested in the same year as the Olympic Games. In 1956, the French capital Paris hosted 24 participating teams, including the first players from the Western Hemisphere – Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. Czechoslovakia won their first championship this time, and they were joined on the podium by Romania and the Soviet Union. Four years later, Brazil hosted the first World Championship held outside of Europe and the first to be held in different cities. The same teams finished on the podium, but in a different order: the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Romania.
A photo from the 1956 World Championships in Paris
The four-year World Championship cycle was advanced by two years after volleyball was approved as an Olympic sport and was about to make its debut at the Tokyo 1964 Games, and the fifth edition took place in 1962, again in the USSR, in four cities in the then-Soviet republics of Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine. It produced the same podium as the previous year. Tunisia’s participation in the event represented Africa’s first appearance in the World Championship.
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When Czechoslovakia hosted the tournament again in 1966, they won their second championship. It was shown in one Slovak city and four Czech cities. Romania and the Soviet Union won the other two medals. For the first time, the number of participating teams was limited, and qualifying were held. However, since no qualifying African teams arrived for the tournament, it was not until the following year in 1970 that all five continental confederations were represented together for the first time.
East Germany won their first world championship that year. They staged an astonishing comeback from 135 points down in the tie-breaker against hosts Bulgaria in the gold medal match in Sofia. Rudi Schumann of the GDR was the first athlete to be named World Championship MVP. Japan won bronze, becoming the first non-European team to do so in the World Championships.
USA against. USSR in France in 1986
The Italian national team dominated the 1990s, winning all three World Championships during that decade. Cuba won silver in 1990, while Brazil grabbed bronze. The Netherlands lost the final to Italy for their first World Championship podium in Greece in 1994, while the United States took bronze. Yugoslavia and Cuba joined the three-time defending world champions on the podium in Japan four years later.
Brazil dominated the next decade. Playing on the newly established rally-point system with sets to 25, the South Americans won titles in Argentina in 2002, Japan in 2006, and Italy in 2010 after defeating Russia, Poland, and Cuba in the finals. France, Bulgaria, and Serbia won bronze medals in each of these three events.
Giba and his Brazilian teammates celebrate during Japan’s 2006 final victory against Poland.
Poland has won the World Championships the last two years, defeating Brazil in both gold medal matches. Germany won the bronze medal in Poland in 2014. The USA completed the podium in Italy-Bulgaria 2018.
The 2018 Men’s World Championship was the first to be co-hosted by two nations, and the 2022 edition will be the second, as Poland and first-time hosts Slovenia collaborate to organize the FIVB’s flagship event.
World Championships 2018 Italy-Bulgaria Poland
To summarize, the Soviet Union has six Men’s World Championships. Brazil, Italy, and Poland have all won the World Cup three times. Czechoslovakia won the gold medal twice. Only the United States and the German Democratic Republic have won world titles.
Russia (including the USSR) also has the most medals (12), followed by Brazil and Czechoslovakia with six apiece and Bulgaria with five.