Although they still have some way to go, Iran are on the rise and can present a good challenge to the world’s elite teams. They have made rapid improvement in recent seasons and last year they had an impressive World League campaign, culminating in a fourthplace finish in Group 1 following a straight-sets defeat against their Italian hosts in the bronze medal match. That was followed up by a sixth-place finish at the 2014 World Championship where they were defeated by a strong Russian side. Iran became Asian champions for a second time in 2013, having made the breakthrough in 2011. They also finished fourth - earning welcome international exposure in the process - at the 2013 World Grand Champions Cup, ahead of teams such as the United States and Japan. They will be hoping to pick up where they left off in 2014 when they defeated Japan to win the gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.
The history of volleyball in Iran dates back to the early 1920s when it was played at colleges. The national team made their competitive debut in the 1950s. While they have yet to qualify for an Olympic Games, their ascent is undeniable. They have featured in the past three World Championships and at the most recent World Cup in 2011, ending a 20-year absence from the latter.