International Volleyball



Hosts China, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, Mexico, Qatar and Ukraine play for a spot in the Volleyball Nations League 2025

Two months after battling in the European Golden League, Croatia and Belgium will play again (Photo: CEV)

With eight men’s national teams in action and one spot in the Volleyball Nations League 2025 in play, the fifth and final edition of the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup is set to start in Linyi, China, with matches scheduled from Thursday to Sunday.

  • Watch Volleyball Challenger Cup 2024 live on VBTV

Held in a single-elimination format, the Challenger Cup will have the quarterfinals on Thursday and Friday, the semifinals on Saturday and the bronze and gold medal matches on Sunday, with the winners qualifying for the VNL 2025, which will have a new format, expanding from 16 national teams to 18.

Featuring national teams from all five continents, the tournament will start with hosts China facing Mexico on Thursday, at 15:30 local time (7:30 GMT) in the quarterfinals. The Chinese, who recently finished fifth in the AVC Challenge Cup, will have outside hitter Zhang Jingyin as one of their main stars as they try to return to the VNL after going down in 2022. Mexico, who prevailed in the NORCECA qualifier for the Challenger Cup, will make their first appearance in the tournament.

Outside hitter Zhang Jingyin will lead China in their home tournament

Four hours later, European rivals Belgium and Croatia will battle in another quarterfinal, in what’s going to be their first appearance in the event. The two teams recently met at the CEV European Golden League, with the Croatians winning 3-1.

“We defeated them in the Golden League, but we don’t know if they will have the same players in China,” Croatian captain Petar Đirlić said. “I believe we have a good chance in the Challenger Cup and that this generation has a unique opportunity to play in the VNL, which is the dream of all of us.”

Volleyball Challenger Cup – Match Schedule

Two more matches on Friday

On Friday, two other quarterfinal duels will be held, with Ukraine facing Chile at 15:30 local time (7:30 GMT). The Ukrainians arrive as the winners of the Golden League and will try to improve from their third-place finish from 2023. The Chileans, on the other hand, have appeared in all four editions of the Challenger Cup and finished fourth last year. Their preparation included a trip to Brazil ahead of flying to China.

“Ukraine won the Golden League and will be…

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