December 5, 2022

Shortly after the final match of the 2022 season of the Volleyball Nations League was played on Sunday, fans all over the world can look forward to more exciting international action as the Volleyball Challenger Cup prepares to get underway in Croatia for the women and in Korea for the men. Volleyball TV will broadcast all of the matches, both live and on-demand, during the competition, which will take place over the course of four days, from the 28th to the 31st of July.

After a hiatus of two years caused by the pandemic, the Volleyball Challenger Cup is once again included on the international calendar.

Its third iteration will take place according to a new knockout format, and teams representing all of the continental confederations will take part. The participants will compete not only for the trophy and the medals but also for a spot in the Volleyball Nations League 2023 tournament, which will be awarded to the winners of each gender’s competition. This opportunity will be presented to the victor of the tournament.

Every day of each tournament will consist of two matches being played. On days one and two of the competition, there will be a quarterfinal round on each day. On July 30, the matches for determining who will advance to the medal rounds will take place.

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THE CHALLENGE CUP IN VOLLEYBALL FOR MEN

The men’s tournament will be played at the Jamsil Student Gymnasium in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. It will begin on Thursday at 15:30 local time (06:30 GMT), and the first quarterfinal will be played between Cuba and Chile. This will be an all-American matchup between the highest ranked representatives of NORCECA and CSV, respectively, that are not already participating in the VNL. The Cubans prevailed in this matchup despite being forced to play all four sets during the pool stage of the first ever Volleyball Challenger Cup in 2018. Following their loss in the championship match held in Ljubljana, they were unable to advance to the next round of the VNL competition in 2019.

Australia, a newcomer to the Volleyball Challenger Cup, and Korea, the tournament’s hosts, will face off in Thursday’s second quarterfinal in Seoul. The match will begin at 19:00 local time (10:00 GMT). The Volleyroos finished in last place in the final standings for the Challenger division of the VNL 2022, which means that they will have to compete against seven other teams in order to earn a spot in the elite tournament. If they are successful, they will replace the Volleyroos as the lowest-ranked Challenger team. In the past, Korean players have also competed in the VNL. In the first ever competition between the two teams, which took place in 2018, the Australians emerged victorious with a 3-1 score. They prevailed in the five-set battle that took place between them the last time they competed against one another, which took place at an AVC Tokyo Olympic qualifier in 2020.

The third quarterfinal will serve as the opening event for Friday’s schedule in Seoul. At twelve o’clock in the local time, Turkey and Qatar will begin their proceedings in the court (03:00 GMT). By virtue of their title as champions of the CEV European Golden League from the previous season, the Turkish national volleyball team was the first to secure a spot in the Volleyball Challenger Cup 2022. Qatar, on the other hand, will be the team to represent the AVC because they are the non-VNL team with the highest ranking. In contrast to Türkiye, who made their initial appearance in the Volleyball Challenger Cup in 2019 and finished in fourth place, Qatar will be making their debut in the competition for the very first time. This will be the first time that these two teams have competed against one another in an official international competition.

The match between Tunisia and the Czech Republic will determine the third and final participant in the semifinals. On Friday at 15:30 (local time), which is 06:30 (GMT), the winners of this year’s European Golden League will compete against the CAVB representatives in a match. While Tunisia are making their debut at the Volleyball Challenger Cup, the Czech Republic participated in the inaugural tournament in 2018 and advanced all the way to the championship match, where they were ultimately defeated by the tournament hosts Portugal and had to settle for second place.

The winner of the quarterfinal match between Korea and Australia and the winner of the match between Türkiye and Qatar will face off against each other on Saturday. The winners of Cuba’s match against Chile and Tunisia’s match against the Czech Republic will face off against each other in the other semifinal.

THE CHALLENGE CUP FOR WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

The women’s volleyball Challenger Cup will kick off with a match between Belgium and the Czech Republic, and it will be held at the Visnjik sports center in the city of Zadar, which is located on the coast of Croatia. On Thursday, the first quarterfinal match between the two European teams will get under way at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT). As the lowest-ranked Challenger team, Belgium will make their first-ever appearance in the Volleyball Challenger Cup after finishing the Volleyball National League 2022 in 15th place. The Czech Republic will make their second appearance in the competition as the runners-up of the European Golden League 2022. In 2019, the Czech Republic made it all the way to the final of the Volleyball Challenger Cup, where they were defeated by Canada in five sets. The last time these two teams competed against one another was almost exactly five years ago, when Czech Republic defeated Belgium in four sets during the pool stage of the 2017 European Volleyball Championship.

Sponsors of the competition Kazakhstan will be the opponent for Croatia’s first match of the tournament, which will take place later on Thursday evening at 20:00 local time (18:00 GMT). The Croatian national volleyball team has committed to taking part in the Volleyball Challenger Cup for a second time. The year before, 2019, they came in fourth. The Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) will be represented by Kazakhstan when they arrive in Zadar, and Kazakhstan will be making their first appearance in the competition. The last time these two teams competed against one another, it was at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, and the Asian team emerged victorious after four sets.

The quarterfinal match between Colombia and France will take place on Friday at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT). The volleyball teams representing South America are returning for their second appearance in the Challenger Cup. Colombia made their debut in 2019, and in their first year they competed, they made it all the way to the final round before losing to Bulgaria. France, who are also getting ready to host the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, qualified for the tournament in Croatia by winning this year’s edition of the European Golden League. France will be competing in the volleyball Challenger Cup for the first time.

As a result of Cameroon’s exit from the competition, Puerto Rico will now advance to the quarterfinals at the expense of Cameroon (for more information click here). In 2018, Puerto Rico competed in the Volleyball Challenger Cup for the first and only time, and they ended up winning bronze. This year, they will compete in the tournament again, and they will play in the semifinals on Saturday.

In the semifinals on Saturday, the winners of Croatia’s match against Kazakhstan will face off against Puerto Rico, and the winners of Belgium’s match against the Czech Republic will face off against the winners of Colombia’s match against France.

For more information regarding the Challenger Cup, click here