It is time for the men to take their turn again in the Volleyball Nations League 2022 as their competition travels to the Philippines and Bulgaria for its second week of action. A total of 32 matches, or 16 per venue, will be played from Tuesday, June 21, through Sunday, June 26.
Quezon City and Sofia to welcome second week in men’s VNL
All 32 games to be streamed live on Volleyball TV
Published 10:30, 20 Jun 2022
Quezon City has already been living with the VNL emotion for a week, enjoying some great matches in the women’s competition, and after a day’s rest will indulge in six days of great men’s volleyball encounters. The pool in the Philippines will start on Tuesday at 15:00 local time (07:00 GMT) with an important match between Slovenia and the Netherlands, two teams that arrive at the second week on a 2-2 win-loss record, and are ranked 10th and seventh, respectively, close to the cut-off line for the Finals.
The pool features another four teams that are above that cut-off line in the current standings, including second-placed Japan, third-placed France, fifth-placed Italy and sixth-placed Germany, each on a 3-1 record so far. A game between the former two will highlight the programme on Saturday and a game between the latter two is scheduled on Wednesday.
Another interesting match will highlight Saturday’s schedule when Italy and Slovenia feature in a remake of last year’s CEV European Championship final.
Also on Tuesday, at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT) in Sofia, the first of two consecutive weeks of VNL action in the Bulgarian capital will get going with a match between two of the Challenger teams in the competition, bottom-of-the-table Australia (0-4) and 14th-placed Canada (1-3). Hosts Bulgaria, who are also winless, will open their campaign at the magnificent Arena Armeets with a game against 11th-placed Iran (2-2).
The remaining participants in the Bulgarian capital are undefeated leaders USA, fourth-placed Poland (3-1), and the two teams that are neighbours right in the middle of the standings on 2-2 each, eighth-placed Brazil with the tournament’s best scorer Alan Souza and ninth-placed Serbia with the tournament’s best server Miran Kujundzic, who are set to lock horns with each other on Thursday.
A remake of last year’s VNL final and of the two most recent FIVB Volleyball World Championship finals between Brazil and Poland is scheduled to take place on Wednesday. A game between two-time VNL medallists USA and Asian continental champions Iran is slated on Thursday’s programme.
Friday’s clash between Australia and hosts Bulgaria, the two teams that failed to win any matches during the first competition week, may prove crucial in the fight to avoid relegation.
The two highest placed teams in the current standings to play in the Bulgarian capital, USA and Poland may or may not have that status when they meet each other on the last day of the week.
This will be the second of three competition weeks to make up the men’s Preliminary Round. All matches count towards the general standings, which will determine the seven teams set to join hosts Italy at the Finals in Bologna from July 20 through 24.
The second week in the women’s VNL, held in Quezon City and Brasilia, came to a completion on Sunday, with as many as three teams scoring four victories in four matches. Japan continued their winning streak from week one to stay undefeated on top of the table on an 8-0 win-loss record. USA added four wins to their record to improve to 7-1 in second place.
With Paola Egonu now in the squad, Italy also won all their matches during the second competition week and shot up the standings to fourth place on 6-2, right below Brazil, also on 6-2. Türkiye, China and Serbia come next on 5-3 each. Thailand and Poland show a balanced record of 4-4 each.
Unlike week one, when the Dominican Republic failed to win a single game, in week two the Caribbean Queens celebrated with three victories to rise to the 10th place on 3-5, just above another two Challenger teams, Canada and Belgium, who follow with the same win-loss record. At the lower end of the table, Germany and Bulgaria, on 2-6 each, stand above the Netherlands (1-7) and winless Korea.
USA, Brazil, China and Türkiye maintained their positions from first to fourth in the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Ranking, while Italy joined them in the top five, moving up a spot and pushing world champions Serbia down to seventh. Bulgaria made the highest jump of two positions up to number 16.