Croatia will make their third World Championship appearance in Italy after previously qualifying in 1998 and 2010. Their campaign four years ago was a challenging one. After defeating Cuba and Kazakhstan in their pool, Croatia missed out on qualification for the knockout stages due to an inferior set ratio, and finished 17th. How different it was 16 years ago, when they lost two of their three matches in Japan but still progressed. Defeat to Cuba in their final match of the second group stage meant a classification match against Japan. They beat the hosts but eventually lost against Italy in the fifth place play-off.
The 1990s were glory days for the team. They won silver medals at the 1995, 1997 and 1999 European Championships and came fourth at the 1995 World Cup. Their performances raised the sport's profile in the country and helped the side reach the quarterfinals of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
The team will take encouragement from their fifth-place finish at last year's European Championship where they defeated the Netherlands in the pool play-offs, before a quarterfinal loss to Germany. Croatia enters the 2014 World Championship looking to build on this year's World Grand Prix campaign where they qualified for the Group 3 Final Round and beat Kazakhstan 3-0 to take third.