The FIVB Volleyball Nations League will have its third edition in 2021 with high expectations for another remarkable six weeks of amazing volleyball action around the world. This comes on the back of a spectacular and highly successful season in 2019, which saw Russia's men and USA's women pick up the gold medals.
Carrying on from the successful 2018 and 2019 competitions, the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League continues in 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 Slovenia who won the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup and are replacing Portugal who were relegated that same year.
- The women's core teams include Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and USA. The challenger teams are Belgium, the Dominican Republic and Poland, plus newly promoted Canada who won the latest FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup to replace Bulgaria who were relegated in 2019.
The 2021 VNL is set to start on May 11 for the women and May 14 for the men with the Preliminary Round completed on June 10 for the women and on June 13 for the men. The men's and women's Finals follow from June 23 to 27.
Teams are placed 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.
Russia beat hosts USA for the men's gold medal in Chicago in 2019, while Poland outplayed Brazil for bronze. In the women’s competition in Nanjing, USA overcame Brazil in the final and hosts China picked up bronze with a win over Turkey.
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.
The 2020 FIVB Volleyball Nations League was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. For more information click here.