Although we volleyball fans tend to consider our country to be the best in the whole world, that is sadly not always the truth.
So, is there a way to tell which country is the best in volleyball?
Thankfully, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (International Volleyball Federation or FIVB) has the answer. They use the FIVB Senior World Rankings as a way of qualifying both men’s and women’s national teams in terms of their performance.
The 222 senior national teams are ranked using a point system: points are awarded based on the results of international matches. Aside from keeping score, the ranking is then used to define the team pools in international competitions.
As from February 2020, the FIVB has implemented a new ranking system. The old system had been criticized due to the circularity of the international tournament classifications. The old calculation method awarded points to teams who took part in the five major official international volleyball competitions; yet, the ranking of the teams was what determined which of them were given access to the major events.
The new calculation method, which was implemented as of February 2020, will be much fairer. It will take into account results from all matches from official international competitions as from January 1st, 2019. The events need to have a minimum of four participating teams in order for the points to count towards the Senior World Rankings.
With this new system in place, the actual performance of a team during each match is what will win or lose ranking points.
The calculation method is based in a zero-sum system: points will be given or taken away from each team after each match, depending on the results.
The whole system is a bit more complicated than that, but the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball has taken the criticism to its previous method to heart and the new World Ranking appears to be more balanced. However, it is still a very new ranking system and is being tested.
What we can tell you is that the new Senior World Rankings are constantly updated so that we can access the latest information.
As of its latest update on April 2nd, 2020, China was the No. 1 national team on the FIVB Senior World Ranking for Women. It is closely followed by the USA in the second place, and Brazil in the third.
As for the men’s national teams, Brazil takes the lead, followed by Poland and the USA in second and third place, respectively.
These are the best ranking countries out of the 222 nations that make up the senior category of the FIVB. However, if we consider only the number of Olympic medals won by volleyball teams historically, the landscape changes just a little bit.
The former Soviet Union is currently the record holder for most gold medals and most Olympic medals. Brazil has the record with the most medals in beach volleyball, while the USA has the most Olympic gold medals.