Questions for fans as Men's World Championship begins
Poland and Brazil lined up in Katowice for the final of the 2014 FIVB World Championship. How will the two finalists fare in the 2018 edition starting on Sunday?
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FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018
Results and ranking
Matches on Sunday, September 9
Italy-Japan in Rome, Italy at 19.30 local time / 17.30 GMT
Bulgaria-Finland in Varna, Bulgaria at 19.30 local time / 17.30 GMT
Can Russia carry on from their Volleyball Nations League triumph to claim their first World Championship in 36 years?
Russia (including the Soviet Union) are the most decorated side in the history of the World Championships. They have amassed six gold medals - double that of the next teams in the medals table, Brazil and Italy. But although they were dominant from the competition's inception in 1949 all through to the 1980s, they have not struck gold since the USSR beat Brazil in the final of the 1982 edition and have not been on the podium since Russia finished runners-up to Brazil in 2002 (the only time they've been on the podium as Russia). Both these competitions were in Buenos Aires.
Russia celebrate their title at the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League, earlier this season in Lille. But can they peak again for the second time in two months to claim the World Championship title?
Can Poland find their way back to the top to claim back-to-back world titles?
After beating Brazil 3-1 in the final of the 2014 World Championship in Katowice, Poland have not won a single title, either world or continental.
Can Italy and Bulgaria capitalise on home advantage to make something out of this World Championship?
Italy have already won the world title three times, all in a row in 1990, 1994 and 1998 - but have not been on a World Championship podium since. The two times they previously hosted the World Championship, they lost to the Soviet Union in the final of 1978 and to Serbia in the bronze medal of 2010.
Brazil players and staff in a heap after beating Italy in the final to claim the Rio 2016 Olympics gold. They won back-to-back titles in the two most prestigious volleyball events in Athens 2004 and the 2006 Worlds. Can they do it again?
Can Brazil continue the legacy of the Rio 2016 Olympic gold with a world title two years later?
Who can join the exclusive list of players having scored 30 points or more in a single World Championship match?
Seven players have made the list (some with multiple entries) since the introduction of the rally scoring system in 2002. Puerto Rico's Hector Soto holds the top two positions (and another three further down the list) with 38 points in the Caribbean side's win over Argentina and 36 in their loss to Tunisia. All five of his entries were from 2016. Others on the list are the Czech Republic's Jan Stokr, China's Yuan Zhi (twice), Poland's Mariusz Wlazly, Serbia's Ivan Miljkovic (twice), Spain's Iban Perez and Iran's Amir Ghafour.
Hector Soto serving at the 2006 FIVB World Championship. Can anyone beat the Puertorican's all-time scoring records?
Who will be top scorer of the 2018 FIVB World Championship, and can they beat the all-time record of 271 points?
Puerto Rico's Hector Soto reached an all-time high of 271 points in 11 matches at the 2006 World Championship, averaging 24.6 points per match. The maximum matches a team can play in 2018 is 12.
Other World Championship top scorers since the introduction of the rally scoring system have been Argentina's Marcos Milinkovic (193 points in 9 matches in 2002), Spain's Iban Perez (173 points in 9 matches in 2010) and Poland's Mariusz Wlazly (233 points in 13 matches in 2014).
Can any player beat the all-time blocking and serving records in a single World Championship match?
In 2006 Germany's Stefan Hubner stuffed the Americans nine times in his side's five-set win over USA. And in 2002 the Netherlands' Reinder Nummerdor served six aces in the Dutch five-set win over the Czech Republic. These are the records to beat in 2018.
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