Croatia made their World Grand Prix debut in 2014 under veteran coach Angelo Vercesi and made an instant impact as they finished third in the Intercontinental Round of Group 3 behind Czech Republic and Bulgaria, winning four of their six matches. In the Final Four they lost to Czech Republic and defeated Kazakhstan in the third-place match. Later in the season they competed at the 2014 World Championship and finished third in their first round pool; they went on to defeat Japan in the second round before finishing equal-13th overall. The team had taken encouragement from their fifth-place finish at the 2013 European Championship, where they beat the Netherlands in the pool play-offs before going down to Germany in the quarterfinals.
The glory days of Croatian women’s volleyball came in the 1990s when they took silver medals at the 1995, 1997 and 1999 European Championships and came fourth at the 1995 World Cup. Their performances raised the sport’s profile in the country and many of the players at the World Grand Prix honed their skills on development programmes that sprang up on the back of that team’s success. The Croatians made it through to the quarterfinals of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, beating Australia, Kenya and Korea along the way.