Volleyball Nations League 2022 Calgary Women - USAvsGER - 028

The Americans concluded the best campaign in the Preliminary Phase with a 3-1 win over Germany

Two-time Asian champions Thailand won their battle against Germany to secure the eighth and final spot in the Women’s Volleyball Nations League 2022 Finals on Sunday, when the four quarterfinal matchups of the tournament were also determined.

The VNL Finals, which will take place in Ankara, Türkiye, will see the hosts take on Thailand, reigning Olympic champions the United States clash with reigning world champions Serbia, Tokyo Olympic silver medallists Brazil meet Asian champions Japan and European champions Italy play against three-time Olympic champions China.

· Watch all VNL 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

The quarterfinal matches will take place on July 13 and 14, with the semifinals to follow on July 16 and the medal matches completing the schedule on July 17.

The encounter between North Americans and Serbians is arguably the most promising among the ones set to take place in the quarterfinals as it will reunite two of the most successful teams in international volleyball over the last few years and also the reigning Olympic and world champions.

Three-time defending VNL champions USA were almost flawless in the Preliminary Phase of this year’s edition of the tournament, winning 11 of their 12 matches. They ended their campaign in Calgary, Canada, with a 3-1 (25-17, 25-13, 13-25, 25-22) victory against Germany on Sunday.

“It feels great to finish the Preliminary Phase the way we did,” said outside hitter Sarah Wilhite, who had a match-high 24 points. “It’s been a really long five weeks and after 12 matches, it’s really important to finish by winning. Germany really pushed us, especially in the third and fourth sets, and I think we just stayed calm and fought for it until the end. We’ll go back home to California, rest for a couple of days and start preparing for the Finals. We have a really good group of players and we’re going to push for the Finals.”

USA and Serbia have met 22 times in international tournaments since 2007, with the Americans winning 15 of those encounters, including the most recent one, earlier this week in Calgary, in which they prevailed in straight sets.

The second-best team in the Preliminary Phase, Brazil have lost just two of their 12 matches in the tournament so far. Their quarterfinal opponents Japan were the first to qualify for the Finals after they won their first eight matches in the VNL, but had a difficult week in Calgary, leaving the Canadian city with four losses.

Brazil and Japan last met in the pool stage of the Tokyo Olympics, in 2021, when the Brazilians won in straight sets on their way to winning the silver medal.

This encounter will also feature an interesting duel at the net reuniting the VNL’s second-best scorer, Japanese captain Sarina Koga, who ended the Preliminary Phase with 243 points, and the tournament’s best blocker, Brazilian Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva, who produced 52 stops.

The duel between Italians and Chinese also has all the features of an exciting encounter. The Europeans had the better Preliminary Phase campaign of the two with ten wins and just two losses, but one of their defeats came at the hands of the Asians, who were in great form this week in Sofia, Bulgaria, winning three of their four matches.

VNL Finals hosts Türkiye, who had seven wins and five losses, will count on the support of their fans to try to overcome Thailand, who won five and lost seven of their matches so far. The last time the teams met, during the 2021 VNL, the Turkish team won in four sets.

At the bottom of the standings, despite defeating Japan 3-2 (25-16, 18-25, 25-19, 11-25, 15-10) and seeing star outside hitter Britt Herbots score 29 points (all in kills), Belgium ended as the lowest-ranked among the five challenger national teams to compete in the VNL and will need to win this year’s Volleyball Challenger Cup to earn a spot in the event in 2023.

Related information: Competition formula