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?

Lausanne, Switzerland, September 7, 2018 - With the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship about to begin across cities in Italy and Bulgaria, when Italy host Japan and Bulgaria entertain Finland in the opening matches on Sunday in Rome and Varna, here's our regular 'questions awaiting answers' ahead of the FIVB's flagship event. As usual, check back here once the competition ends to find all the answers.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018
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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.

Question is, can Russia achieve top form for the second time this year, after sweeping all opposition to claim the inaugural VNL title?

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.

After some disappointing results in the last four years, can Poland pick up to get back up on the top step of the podium?

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.

The only other time Bulgaria hosted a World Championship was in 1970, when the Balkan side finished runners-up to East Germany for their only silver medal in the history of the competition. Bulgaria have also claimed four bronze medals - last time in 2006 when they beat Serbia & Montenegro in the third-place playoff.

This is the very first time that a volleyball World Championship is jointly hosted by two countries.

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?
They've done it before. After striking gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Brazil went on to sweep Poland in the finals of the 2006 World Championship in Tokyo, for back-to-back titles in the two most prestigious competitions in the volleyball calendar.

Only two other teams have achieved this: the Soviet Union followed up on their Moscow 1980 Olympic gold with a world title in 1982 at Buenos Aires; and USA topped up their Los Angeles 1984 Olympic success with a triumph at the 1986 World Championship in Paris.

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. This record was matched in 2010 by both Rodrigo 'Rodrigao' Santana of Brazil (in their 3-1 win over Spain) and Iran's Mohammad Mousavi (in his team's five-set loss to Italy).

And in 2014 another German, Gyorgy Grozer, served eight aces against Bulgaria in his team's 3-1 win over Bulgaria.

These are the records to beat in 2018.

The team records are 22 blocks by Yugoslavia in their four-set win over USA in 2002 and 17 aces by Russia in their five-set win over Bulgaria in 2014.