International Volleyball



With the start of Volleyball Nations League 2024 just around the corner, let’s take a look at some of the most exciting matches awaiting the fans in this year’s men’s edition of the tournament. A set of seven teams – Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Slovenia and United States, in alphabetical order – have dominated the international stage and made up the top four at every single world-level competition since the new Olympic cycle started after Tokyo 2020. Even if we add the strong CEV European Championships in the past three years, the only exception to that trend would be Serbia’s fourth place in 2021. That means that any encounter between two of these seven teams would guarantee an explosive top-calibre clash.

However, what makes this edition of the VNL particularly special is that its Preliminary Phase also serves as the final part of the Olympic qualification process towards Paris 2024 and a lot of the spotlights will fall on those teams that have not guaranteed themselves Olympic tickets yet, but are well within reach of the coveted remaining vacancies. Two of the above-mentioned seven – Italy and Slovenia – are in that group. So are Argentina, Serbia, Cuba, the Netherlands, Iran and even VNL rookies Türkiye. And their matches will be quite exciting to follow.

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These are our five picks in chronological order:

USA v POLAND, May 22 in Antalya

This will be not only a remake of last year’s VNL final, but also a head-to-head power clash between the top two teams in the FIVB World Ranking. Both teams are already qualified for Paris, but while United States will be driven by a strong motivation to take revenge for the 3-1 loss last July and win their first VNL gold in history, Poland will certainly try to defend their title and maintain their status as the number one team in the world.

FRANCE v SLOVENIA, May 23 in Antalya

France are not only the host nation of the upcoming Olympic Games, but also the reigning men’s volleyball Olympic champions. Meanwhile, Slovenia, one of the world’s strongest teams, have yet to secure their spot at Paris 2024 and will be eager to stay on the right track towards such a historic success. They outplayed France in a five-set battle when they last met in the bronze medal match of EuroVolley 2023.

ARGENTINA v BRAZIL, May 23 in Rio de Janeiro

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