On Saturday, Iran became the seventh team to earn a place at the Finals of the Volleyball Nations League 2022. With Iran’s advancement, there is now only one spot left to compete for at the tournament that will take place later this month in Bologna, Italy. Additionally, the Netherlands, Argentina, and Slovenia are going to compete for it.
The three teams are currently ranked eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively, in the standings. The determination of which team will compete in Bologna from July 20-24 will be made on Sunday, when the Preliminary Phase concludes in Osaka, Japan, and Gdansk, Poland, respectively.
The Netherlands had a chance to secure their spot in the Finals on Saturday, but the defending world champions Poland proved to be too much for them. Poland won their match in Gdansk in straight sets (25-19, 25-23, and 25-22), delaying any possibility of the Netherlands qualifying for the Finals.
Regardless of the outcome, the Dutch will have complete control over their own destiny on Sunday when they take on Italy at 17.00 local time (15.00 GMT). They are currently in eighth place with six victories and 17 points, and if they are successful in beating the Italians, they will maintain that position regardless of how other teams perform in the competition.
With their third straight victory in Osaka, Argentina kept their hopes of making it to the Finals alive for another day. The match went the full four sets. Outside hitters Ezequiel Palacios and Luciano Vicentin led the way with 17 points to lead the South Americans to an upset victory over the reigning Olympic champions France in the opening match of the day (25-22, 23-25, 25-19). The score was 25-19.
The Tokyo bronze medalists, who currently have five wins and 17 points, will need to defeat the United States at 12.40 local time (3.40 GMT) and hope that Italy will win later in the day in order to catch up to the Dutch. The victory over the United States will take place at 3.40 GMT.
Palacios remarked that their team had a really strong performance in today’s match. “The match was extremely challenging, but to our good fortune, we were able to come out on top. We are putting in effort each and every day to improve our chances of advancing to the finals, and we need to keep doing that and keep our attention fixed on the prize.
Among the three teams that are still in the running, the Slovenians have the toughest road to travel in order to make it to the VNL Finals. They did not play on Saturday. With only 15 points and five wins, they need to defeat Poland in Gdansk by a score of 3-0 or 3-1 at local time 20.00 (18.00 GMT) and hope that the Dutch lose to Italy in three or four sets and that Argentina loses to the United States by any score. The match will take place at local time 20.00 (18.00 GMT).
The schedule and the results of the Volleyball Nations League 2022
It has been determined that Australia will finish the VNL in 16th place, which means they will have to compete in the Volleyball Challenger Cup this year in order to have any chance of qualifying for the VNL in 2023. Australia currently sits in last place in the standings. The Australians, who have only one victory to their name and two points, still have a game left on their schedule, but even if they were to completely dominate France, they would still be ranked lower than Canada, who has two wins to their name and six points.
For additional details regarding the National League, click here.