Volleyball has existed since 1895 when William G. Morgan created the sport in a YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Interestingly, this was only ten miles from where basketball was founded, but the revolutionary new indoor sport quickly caught on.

Nowadays, volleyball is a popular pastime around the world. You’ll find courts in almost every leisure center, features on many sports TV networks, and even dedicated sports betting news sites for volleyball fans. The sport has become a global phenomenon, which means the US is no longer the only world volleyball superpower. Many countries now have prolific teams with some of the best athletes in the world. Let us take a look at some of these top nations.

1. Poland

At the time of writing, Poland holds the number one spot in the worldwide volleyball rankings, and deservedly so. They had a stellar 2023, losing just two of their 31 matches played during the year. These losses came against the USA and Serbia, both powerhouses in their own rights, but they found multiple victories over teams like Italy, Brazil, and Japan. They have also reached the final of the World Championships in four of the last five editions, winning it twice.

2. United States

The creators and original powerhouses of volleyball, the US has never strayed far from excellence. The men’s US volleyball team has five Olympic medals to its name, three of which are gold. They have also won three FIVB World Cups, including recent triumphs in 2015 and 2023, and are always a team to be feared.

3. Italy

Another giant of the sport, volleyball fever swept through Italy during the twentieth century. This helped the country solidify its place as a titan of volleyball during the 1980s, and it has kept this reputation ever since. They are one of the most historically successful teams in the world, having won four World Championships, seven European Championships, and one World Cup.

4. Japan

Japan is currently enjoying a prosperous period, but it has not always been that way. Historically one of the best teams in Asia, the Japan men’s volleyball team has only qualified for three out of the last eight Olympic Games. But strong recent results, including a huge 3-2 victory over Italy to claim bronze in the 2023 Nations League, have helped them cement their place among the sport’s elite.

5. Brazil

Volleyball is an immensely popular sport in Brazil, and the quality of the country’s national team reflects this. They have reached the final of the Olympic Games in six of the last ten editions, taking home the gold in three of those. The past two decades of Brazilian volleyball have produced one of the best, most consistent men’s teams ever.