Following a spectacular and highly successful inaugural season in 2018, which saw Russia’s men and USA’s women pick up the first gold medals to be awarded, the FIVB Volleyball Nations League enters its second edition in 2019 with high expectations for another remarkable couple of months of amazing volleyball action around the world.
Carrying on from last year’s successful competition, the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League continues on the same format of 12 core teams and 4 challenger teams per gender.
- The men’s core teams are Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and USA. They are complemented by the challenger teams of Australia, Bulgaria and Canada, plus newcomers Portugal who won last year’s Challenger Cup and are replacing Korea who were relegated last year.
- The women’s core teams include Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and USA. The challenger teams are Belgium, the Dominican Republic and Poland, plus newly promoted Bulgaria who won last year’s Challenger Cup to replace Argentina who were relegated in 2018.
Starting on 21 May for the women and 31 May for the men, the 2019 VNL retains a similar calendar to last year, with men playing over the weekends and women during the week in pools of four teams each until each has played against every other in a single round robin tournament.
The top five teams at the end of the Preliminary Round join the hosts of the Finals to fight for the ultimate prize.
The women’s finals will be held in China 3-7 July, with the men’s following a week later 10-14 July in the USA.
Last year in Lille Russia beat hosts France for the men’s gold medal, while USA outplayed Brazil for bronze. In the women’s competition in Nanjing, USA overcame Turkey in the final and hosts China picked up bronze with a win over Brazil.
The whole competition totals 260 matches – 130 per gender across the almost two-month duration. With an identical format for men and women, the Volleyball Nations League promotes equality in volleyball, while also making it simpler and more engaging to follow.