Russia will be one of the most feared teams at the 2014 World Championship as they aim for their third successive crown and eighth overall. Four years ago, Russia won every match en route to the final against Brazil, which they sealed 3-2. They are the only team to have won three Championships in a row, when they won successive titles competing as the Soviet Union in 1952, 1956 and 1960. The last time they failed to make a World Championship podium was in 1986 when they finished sixth, and since the inaugural World Championship in 1952 they have failed to win a medal on only three occasions.
Taking into account Russia's years competing under the banner of the Soviet Union, they are the most successful nation in the history of women's volleyball. They won gold medals in the Olympic Games at Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Moscow 1980 and Seoul 1988. On top of that, they won their 18th European Championship in 2013, their first title in that competition since 2001. Elsewhere there have been triumphs in the 1973 World Cup and 1997 Grand Champions Cup, but more recently they slumped to seventh place at the 2013 World Grand Prix.
Ominously for the rest of the teams in Italy, Russia showed a return to form as they finished third in the Final Six stage in the 2014 World Grand Prix.