This is the first time Belgium have qualified for the World Championship since the 1978 tournament held in the Soviet Union. There they finished 22nd out of 23 teams, winning one of their seven games played over two group stages, before losing 3-2 to Finland in the 21st place play-off. They also participated in the 1956 World Championship in France where they finished in 13th place following victories over Israel, West Germany, Luxembourg and Austria in the Consolation Round.
There was huge encouragement for the team at the 2013 European Championship when they picked up the bronze medal behind Russia and Germany. After losing to the latter in their semifinal, they recovered to defeat Serbia 3-2 to earn their place on the podium.
Belgium's recent improvement has been the product of earlier success in their youth ranks. They won a bronze medal at the 2009 Youth World Championship and gold at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Belgium continue their hunt for silverware as they enter Italy. The team debuted at the World Grand Prix in 2014, and defeated the Netherlands 3-2 in the Group 2 finals to qualify for the Final Six where they finished bottom.