European Championships history starts in 1948. Untill now there has been 24 european tournaments. The most medals won the Soviet Union. Europe in global is the continent with the best  teams (Italy, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, France, Poland,…) and the best volleyball players of the world are playing volleyball leagues in Italy, Russia, Greece and France.



History of European Championships

(click on the place of ECH to find out more)

year
place
gold
silver
bronze
1948
Czechoslovakia
France
Italy
1950
Soviet Union
Czechoslovakia
Hungary
1951
Soviet Union
Bulgaria
France
1955
Czechoslovakia
Romania
Bulgaria
1958
Czechoslovakia
Romania
Soviet Union
1963
Romania
Hungary
Soviet Union
1967
Soviet Union
Czechoslovakia
Poland
1971
Soviet Union
Czechoslovakia
Romania
1975
Soviet Union
Poland
Yugoslavia
1977
Soviet Union
Poland
Romania
1979
Soviet Union
Poland
Yugoslavia
1981
Soviet Union
Poland
Bulgaria
1983
Soviet Union
Poland
Bulgaria
1985
Soviet Union
Czechoslovakia
France
1987
Soviet Union
France
Greece
1989
Italy
Sweden
Netherlands
1991
Russia
Italy
Netherlands
1993
Italy
Netherlands
Russia
1995
Italy
Netherlands
Yugoslavia
1997
Netherlands
Yugoslavia
Italy
1999
Italy
Russia
Yugoslavia
2001
Yugoslavia
Italy
Russia
2003
Italy
France
Russia
2005
Italy
Russia
Serbia & Montenegro
2007
Russia
?
?
?


Country
medal total
gold
silver
bronze
Soviet Union/Russia
19
12
2
5
Italy
10
6
2
2
Czechoslovakia
7
3
4
0
Yugoslavia/Serbia & Montenegro
6
1
1
4
Poland
6
0
5
1
Romania
5
1
2
2
Netherlands
5
1
2
2
France
5
0
3
2
Bulgaria
4
0
1
3
Hungary
2
0
1
1
Sweden
1
0
1
0
Greece
1
0
0
1

Download European Championships history here »»»
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ITALY 1948: Men’s European Championship in Rome from September the 24th till September the 26th 1948 is the first official international tournament since the establishment of the World Federation in April 1947. It takes place open-air on the beach-volleyball fields in “Foro Italico”. In the absence of the Soviet Union which joined the World Federation just a short time before, the team of Czechoslovakia stands head and shoulders above the other five teams and wins the first European Championship very confidently directed by coach Ceslipa. France comes off second-best, they stand up to a very hard-earned game against host Italy with 3-2. Portugal gets in the fourth position before Belgium and the Netherlands.

 
 
 

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BULGARY 1950: During the second Men’s European Championship in Bulgaria the Soviet Union confirm their superiority shown a year before at the World Championship and they win their first European Championship with great predominance in a field of Eastern European teams before the titleholders from Czechoslovakia. The soviet volleyball players don’t lose one set in five games played in the mode “dog-eat-dog”. Hungary secures the bronze medal in front of Bulgaria.

 
 
 

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FRANCE 1951: The third Men’s European Championship takes place in Paris where ten men’s teams from East and West are brought into contact. The Soviet men repeat their success from the previous year and again don’t lose a set on their triumphal procession. Trainer Tschinilin still brings along nine players from the fruitful team of 1950. Among the three new players there are with Giwi Ahvlediani and Wladimir Savvin two players who should get worldwide reputation by being trainers or sports leaders in the future. After the superior Soviets, Bulgaria wins the silver medal before the host France who has to be content with a bronze medal because of their better percentage of sets.

 
 
 

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ROMANIA 1955: The fourth Men’s European Championship in Romania can be defined the first “real” European title bouts as this time there are after all 14 national teams from East and West at the starting line. Czechoslovakia, who has been effective at the first championship in Rome, gets its second European Championship title with the new stars Musil, Maly, Laznicka and Paulus. But there were also two players left from the team of 1948, Paldus and Tesar. The titleholder Soviet Union with its coach Schagin who has been an active player in person just four years ago, is not able to get into the medal ranks this time in Bucharest and has to content itself with just the fourth position, though they are playing with the experienced Konstantin Rewa and their two young talents Mondosolewski as setter and Tschesnokow as spiker. Host Romania wins the silver medal while Bulgaria gets the bronze medal. This time the Men’s European Championship as well as the Women’s experiences a real spectators boom – at an average more than 15.000 spectators get to see the encounters that are fought out open-air in the Dinamo – stadium. During the final games the stadium is booked out with more than 30.000 volleyball fans.

 
 
 

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CZECHOSLOVAKIA 1958: The fifth Men’s European Championships in Prague goes off without a hitch and a new record of 20 teams participating. Titleholder Czechoslovakia who has been the world champion two years before in Paris wins its third title in its home area. By the way, the Czechoslovakians surprises this time with a totally new technique of reception and defence which should revolutionize the future volleyball game: the bump. After the home team (with all the stars that were present in 1955, too), Romania wins the silver medal with its young setter Dragan while the players from the Soviet Union are having only one original player from 1955 left, Farakow. They win the bronze medal before Bulgaria and Hungary just because of their better percentage of sets.

 
 
 

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ROMANIA 1963: At the sixth Men’s European Championship the Soviet Union again stays without any title in series for the third time although they have been two times world champion during the last five years since the last ECH and they still have seven players from the WCH-team of 1962 – to be second to none, there are the bulky spiker Bugajenkow and the excellent setter Mondosolewski. This time, different from the ECH in 1955, the host team from Romania remains at the wheel and gets European champion before Hungary – due to the phenomenal setter Aurel Dragan from Rapid Bucharest. Romania’s Western neighbour in fact lost in the direct comparison to the world champions from the Soviet Union but as the Soviets has to accept a defeat against Bulgaria, too, the silver medal goes with a tie to Hungary, the bronze medal to the Russians.

 
 
 

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TURKEY 1967: World champion Czechoslovakia who, four years ago in Bucharest, gets only the fourth position, also could not now get the title of a European champion in Istanbul. They lose the decisive game against the first volleyball Olympic champion in history (the team from the Soviet Union) with 3-2. For the Soviets it’s the first European Championship to win after an abstinence of 16 years! Phenomenal players of the “Sbornaja” are 34-years-old setter Mondolewski who has been reactivated after the loss of the WCH title in 1966 as well as the spikers Beljajew, Bugajenkow and the universal player Pojarkow. Altogether coach Kletschew still brings along five players that once have won Olympic gold in Tokyo. New in the team are the two young spikers Krawchenko and Lapinski.

 
 
 

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ITALY 1971: In Italy 22 teams makes up the record field of participants at the eight Men’s Volleyball European Championship which should become a real huge event with altogether 81 games. It’s the first time in history that it comes to a decision for the title just because of the better set percentage. Indeed, titleholder Soviet Union already stands firm to be the new European champion just before its 0-3 – defeat against Czechoslovakia in the last game. Because of the surprisingly clear victory the Czechoslovakians assures themselves the silver medal in 12:5 sets before the Romanians (in 12:6 sets), who has in fact won against the Czechoslovakians but could not place themselves in a better position as they have lost against the Soviet Union in a 0-3 defeat. World champion GDR badly disappoint this time. Just one year after their sensational profit in Bulgaria they now lose every game in Italy against the medal winners with 0-3. Vice-world champion Bulgaria even has a greater break-in because they could not even qualify themselves for the finals of the six best teams and at the end gets the seventh position. With the new (and old) European champion from the Soviet Union there are after all six players left who played one year before at the World Championship in Bulgaria under the direction of chief coach Juri Tschesnokow and finishes only sixth. That’s when Vladimir Kondra, who later on should belong to the best Soviet players for years, makes his debut.

 
 
 

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JUGOSLAVIA 1975: The ninth European Championship in Jugoslavia is performed with a reduced field of twelve teams. Both, the man as well as the women, are divided into three groups of four teams from where the two best placed teams qualify themselves for the final round. The Soviet Union who, one year before failed by trying to become World champion in Mexico, now win against Poland 3-0 on their way to the fifth title. Though they lose 2-3 against host Jugoslavia, Poland finally gets the second position before the natives. In the Soviet team there are quite a lot of young players who should attract attention in the future, for example the only 18-years-old Alexander Savin who plays for the first time in a European Championship just as the player Saizew and his colleagues Loor, Seliwanow and Tschernischow.

 
 
 

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FINLAND 1977: The tenth European Championship in Finland takes place in a new mode of playing. The twelve qualified teams (the men as much as the woman) start playing against each other in groups of six teams, after that the third-placed and fourth-placed as well as the fifth-placed and sixth-placed teams played against each other in a cross-over mode to seek out the ranks 1 till 12. Once again Poland, who has been the world champion in 1974 and Olympic Champion in 1976, can’t win the fight against the Soviet Union to become European Champion. One year after the big disappointment in Montreal, when the gold medal seemed to be certain but then had to be given to Poland, the Soviets get their revenge on their Western neighbour with a 3-1 victory in the final game and they win title N° 6 for the Soviet volleyball association. Especial impressing players of the old and new European champion are player Saizew and all-round player Molibago. Romania gains the bronze medal with a 3-1 victory against Hungary.

 
 
 

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FRANCE 1979: The eleventh European Championship in France once again is played with the formula of division in four groups of teams. Another time the Soviet ‘Sbornaja’ outclasses all the rivals. The volleyball artists leave on their way only three sets at their backs on the conquer of their seventh title. They win 3-2 against Jugoslavia and 3-1 against France. The champ Kondra at his third participation wins the award of best player of the Championship. Poland seems to be revived after the delusion of the World Championship of Rome. The polish team in fact obtains the second position. The great surprise of this edition of European Championship is the team of Jugoslavia that reaches the third position and overtakes the host France.

 
 
 

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BULGARIA 1981: One year after having won the Olympic games in Moscow, The Soviet men also succeed in winning easily their eighth European Championship title. They only give two sets to the Czechoslovakian team. The silver medal once again goes to Poland while the host Bulgaria is able to place itself in the medal ranks for the first time since 1955 because of their curtly better set percentage towards Czechoslovakia and Romania they can win the bronze medal.

 
 
 

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GERMANY 1983: For the fifth time in a row Poland fails in trying to upset the leading position of the Soviets in the men’s volleyball of Germany. Afresh they have to be happy with the silver medal. The ‘Sbornaja’, who won its fourth World champions title a year before in Argentina, still is too strong. Once again the ‘dream tandem’ of the Soviet men’s volleyball, the superstars Savin and Saizew, play to the top of its bents and leave no chance to the other competitors. This time Italy is the positive surprise of the European Championship. After they enter the final round by coming through the strong phalanx of the Eastern Europeans, at the very end they miss the bronze medal, which have been nearly save, by losing 2-3 in their last game against host Germany. It’s only a cold comfort for the ambitious Italians that their great attacker ‘mani di pietra’ Franco Bertoli is paid homage as the best player in the European Championship. The bronze medal goes to the Bulgarian team which haven’t counted anymore on winning it.

 
 
 

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NETHERLANDS 1985: Some new names appeare in the Soviet team in the Netherlands, but considering the sport, everything stays the same. With Antonow, Vilde, Sorokolet and Iwanow nothing changes in the Soviet formula for success, the course is set on winning – the result is title number 10. For the first time after 1971 the Czechoslovakian team stands on the winners’ podium with a second place. But France, who gets third place, has to wait even longer until they are able to stand up in (nearly) first place: about 24 years! At this time like in 1985 the bronze medal is the profit of the French who obtain their success in great quantities to the brilliant play of their excellent setter Alain Fabiani, who gets rhapsodically called the ‘Platini of the volleyball’ from the media. But the prize for the best player doesn’t go to Fabiani but to the Czechoslovakian player Cyril Kreici who also has been playing very powerful and therefore has spiked his team to the second place.

 
 
 

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BELGIUM 1987: At the 15th European Championship the team of the Soviet men gains already their eleventh European champions title, the ninth one in a row. For the first time since 1977 there have been a ‘real’ final in Gent, where the final round takes place: the Soviet team against France. It ends up with a clear victory for the Soviets. The French, who distinguish themselves in the preliminary round with the most variable play, have hard-earned the silver medal and without doubts they are by far the best team of this games after the Soviet Union. After a very exciting game between two ‘unseeded’ teams the bronze medal goes to Greece which have a 3-2 success against Sweden – during that game the ambitious Greeks can catch up a handicap of 8:13 in the fifth set and they literally fight for the bronze medal. The titleholder from the Soviet Union performs a double changing of the guards: on the one hand it’s the first time since 1977 that Wjatscheslaw Platonow isn’t responsible chief coach anymore, on the other hand it’s also the first time for the legendary duo Wjatscheslaw Saizew and Alexander not to take part in an European Championship since 1975. Nevertheless the new trainer Parschin who has taken over the Soviet team in the spring of 1986 and ‘only’ has achieved the second place at the World Championship of 1986 in France, is sure that his team is the only one to win an Olympic gold medal in Seoul 1988.

 
 
 

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SWEDEN 1989: At the European Championship in Sweden, the Italians show two kinds of news: They win a big title for the first time in the Italian volleyball associations’history and they see to it that for the first time in the 40-years history of the European Champion a Western European association is the one to get the continental title. The complete triumph of the Western Europeans is fulfilled by the Swedish team including superstar Bengt Gustafsson which fight itself into the final and the Dutch who win the bronze medal. Italy’s star-coach Julio Velasco who quite recently has been the coach of the Czech Republic, cheers: ‘This is a historical day for the European volleyball.’ And it also is the birthday of a great team including Paolo Tofoli, Andrea Zorzi, Andrea Lucchetta, Andrea Gardini, Lorenzo Bernardi and Luca Cantagalli as players. For the usually successful Russians, Czechs and Bulgarians, who in general ruled on the first ranks in Europe, there are only placements without medals left.

 
 
 

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GERMANY 1991: The 18th Men’s European Championships is staged in Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Berlin. at whose end there are two surprises to be seen. On the one hand the Soviets gain a 3-0 victory against the favoured Italians in the final. For two years the titleholders won every big tournament (World Championship in 1990, World League in 1990 and 1991). In Berlin the players of coach Platonov break up this series with a confident 3-0 in the final with new superstar Dimitri Fomin. On the other hand the German team comes of surprisingly well with a fourth place that beats all goals. In fact there isn’t much power left in the semi final (1-3 against Italy) and the game for the third place (0-3 against the Netherlands).

 
 
 

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FINLAND 1993: The time of hard knocks for Italy’s men ends with the ECH-title in 1993. The “Squadra Azzurra” which has been the indisputable number one of the volleyball hierarchy for years is on the top again. The 3-2 victory against the strong Dutch team in the final of Turku is like balm for the souls of the Italians who are used to have success and has been duped in the last European Championship (second place) as well as in the Olympic games 1992 (fifth place) and the World League final 1993 in Brazil (third place).

 
 
 

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GREECE 1995: In Greece 1995 there happen to be the same run-in like two years before. And like in 1993, Italy again can stand up to the Dutch team in five sets (which, one year later, should have the possibility to pay back again in five sets by winning the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta).The Italian coach Julio Velasco classifies the final as ‘one of the best finals in history’. Yugoslavia gets third place with a clear victory against Bulgaria. Italian group is renewed and among the others starts his adventure a young player with long limbs and strong temper: the middleblocker Vigor Bovolenta. Velasco chooses Meoni as setter and for the first time Tofoli is relegated on bench. But, just arrived in Greece and Meoni sufferes an injury on his right pinkie. Tofoli has again his role in the National team. Italy begins very well winning easily against Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. The match against Czech republic is a real war but at the end Italy achieves the victory. Azzurri fall under the shots of Russian team but this defeat has no importance because they conserve the primate of their pool. In the semifinal match, Italy faces the Jugoslavia and it wins after a very hard match. The suffering is not ended: the final is against Netherlands. In Athens, Italian coach Velasco chooses Tofoli as setter, Giani as diagonal, Gardini and Gravina as middleblocker, Bernardi and Papi as spikers. During the match, Velasco makes 17 changes on his team, working tactically against the ‘Oranges’ of Alberda. The match is really emotional. Netherlands makes a perfect match but Tofoli and fellows counterattack point after point. The twenty years old Bovolenta enchants the public. Italy wins and for the Italian players there are also many awards: Tofoli as best setter, best digger to Samuele Papi and best player to Lorenzo Bernardi. Jugoslavia after a very dramatic historical period, obtains the third position with a sharp win against Bulgaria.

 
 
 

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NETHERLANDS 1997: After six years and six months on the guide of Italian National team and 325 matches played, Velasco decides to leave the male team to dash into the female volleyball National team. Federal President Carlo Magri chooses the brazilian Paulo Roberto de Freitas as new coach of the male Italian National team, who later will be known as Bebeto. Bernardi, Cantagalli, Zorzi, Tofoli and Bracci say goodbye to the National adventure together with the coach Velasco. In the Italian group appears again Rosalba next to Meoni, Gravina, Giani and the rustless Gardini. Two are the news: Giombini and Hristo Zlatanov. The Dutch European Championship really involves many troubles. Rosalba suffers for an injury, then Pippi, too. The couple of official spikers jumps in a row. Bebeto puts Giani as spiker and Bonatti has once again the chance of playing. The Italian team loses 3-1 against Jugoslavia but redeems itself winning against the Slovakia, Germany and Russia. The Dutch team dominates the European Championships in the way the Dutch does. The host achieves unchallenged his first European Championship title and only loses one set at all in the whole tournament. In the final, Yugoslavia has to admit its superiority though it shows with a 1-3 that you can reckon on their team in the future. Regarding the Dutch advantage, it’s only logical that most of the ‘single titles’ go to the ‘Oranjes’, too: Bas van de Goor (best spiker), Reinder Nummerdor (best back row player) and Guido Görtzen (most valuable player) cream off. Therefore title holder Italy gets the third position as they stand up against France 3-1.

 
 
 

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AUSTRIA 1999: In Austria there played only eight teams for the Championship-crown but in the end Italy can catch on one more time. They gain 3-1 against Russia in the final and in this way pay back for the defeat in the preliminary round (1-3). ‘Azzurri’ are again the absolute protagonists of this European Championship’s edition trained by coach Andrea Anastasi: they win 3-0 against Austria and Bulgaria, then they lose against Russia in four sets and reach the semifinal. Italy faces Jugoslavia and wins 3-1 after a really thrilling match. Jugoslavia again ranks the third place like in 1997, they win against the team from Czech Republic. The host team Austria proves not to be competitive and comes in last without any set won. Italy on the wings of enthusiasm and conduced by the brilliant performances of Bracci, Meoni, Giani and Mastrangelo – for the first time official middleblocker instead of captain Gardini – conquers the gold medal.

 
 
 

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CZECH REPUBLIC 2001: The mode of playing with eight teams again is antiquated in 2001, in Ostrava the twelve best European teams play against each other to win the title. The Jugoslavians are on the fast lane. They have won the Olympic gold medal one year before in Sydney very confidently and now collect the title, too. The Italians, who reach the semi final winning 3-0 against Ungary, 3-1 against Germany and 3-0 against Poland, are beaten badly by Jugoslavia and France. Then even if Italy wins in the semifinal against the Czech Republic with a 3-0 result, in the final match they has to give up against the strongest Jugoslavia: after just 60 minutes the result is certain, Italy loses 0-3 against Jugoslavia. Now the changing of the guard in the European volleyball has been definitely finished – Jugoslavia has a major gear.

 
 
 

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GERMANY 2003: With Italy defeating France in an exciting five sets final, the Men’s European Championships come to an end. The tournament with the best twelve teams of the world’s strongest volleyball continent turned out to be one the most successful European event. The Men’s European Championship is not only a spectator magnet. The final between Italy and France is the climax. After more than two hours of high level volleyball, Italy claims the title 3-2. Almost 9,000 spectators are present in the Max Schmeling Hall in Berlin to see the Italian team winning the European gold medal for the fifth time. The match with the highest audience is the final between Italy and France with 8,800. Russia obtains the bronze medal after being badly defeated by Italy during the preliminary phase. Italian players are the best of the tournament: Mastrangelo is really insuperable on block while Papi is perfect in passing and Sartoretti is the best player of the Championship with his infallible serve. These are the statements of Italian captain Andrea Giani after the final match: “We are very happy about this victory. It is a great honour for us to continue past successes again. This European Championship demonstrates impressively who strong the European teams are in the world of volleyball. France’s team shows how far you can get with a close team”. Even Italian National team’s coach Gian Paolo Montali expresses his satisfaction: “It was a fantastic game. When a coach dreams of his first title, then it’s of such a match in the final and not of a straight 3-0 win. I love to win, but I love it even more to win such matches. This game appealed to all feelings and emotions one has. You always have to find ways to solve problems”.

 
 
 

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ITALY 2005: Italy is again the champion of Europe. After losing in a group with Russia, Italy made their revenge in final defeating Russian team 3-1. Russian team was leaving Russia with only one goal, to win the championship. Winning the group, qualified for final against Spain losing in fifth set 13:10, Russia prayed for gold. Thirth place for Serbia & Montenegro, arranging one of the groups in Belegrad, with a straight 3-0 against big surprise of tournament the team of Spain.