Volleyball Stats: A guide to everything about the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League

The FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League is a yearly global volleyball tournament involving senior men’s national teams from member nations of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), the principal international governing body of the sport. The first-ever event took place between May and July of 2018, and the grand finale was staged in Lille, France, and saw Russia winning the title.

This tournament was first publicized in October 2017, besides the announcement of the Challenger Cup. The idea of the competition was a collective initiative between FIVB, International Management Group (IMG), and 21 national federations. It was designed to replace the World League, the previous annual men’s global tournament that had a successful run from 1990 until 2017.

In the same month, the FIVB, through an official press statement, declared the establishment of the Volleyball Nations League for both men’s and women’s categories. This declaration solidified the tournament’s position as the successor to the World League and World Grand Prix. The press release emphasized the tournament’s aim to introduce a radical change to volleyball tournaments, making it one of the pivotal milestones in the history of the sport. The tournament’s most successful team, Russia, was barred from competition due to their war against Ukraine.

What is the format of the Competition?

Older Format

The competition was structured in two distinct stages, with alterations in the competition format: an initial round, operating on a rotating host city system, and a conclusive round conducted in a predetermined host city. This preliminary round extended over five weeks, as compared to the three-week duration in the World League. All the matches in a particular pool were organized over a weekend in the same city. Following the conclusion of the preliminary round, the top five teams in the overall standings advanced to the final round. The host nation was granted automatic qualification to the final round.

Sixteen national teams vied for the top spot in the inaugural edition of the tournament, which included twelve core teams that enjoyed perpetual qualification, and four challenger teams, susceptible to relegation. The teams were segregated into four pools of four teams each, which competed over five weeks, culminating in a total of 120 matches. Post the round-robin tournament, the top five teams, along with the hosts, secured their spots in the final round. Meanwhile, the team that emerged victorious in the Challenger Cup would earn their place in the subsequent edition as a challenger team.

The six top-performing teams advance to the next round, where they are divided into two groups of three, following a round-robin system. The best two teams from each pool make their way into the semifinals. At this stage, the top-ranked teams fight against the teams ranked second. The semifinalists who win proceed to compete for the much-coveted Nations League title.

Newer Format

Beginning with the 2022 edition, a new format has been implemented for the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League. The competition continues to be split into two main phases: the group stage and the Finals. The 16 participating teams are segregated into two groups of eight. Throughout the three-week preliminary round, each team engages in 12 matches. Two sets of eight teams will take part in four matches over six competition days. This format allows for the rest of one week between events. Consequently, the total number of matches during the group stage is equal to 96.

For the Finals, the top eight teams from the initial stages proceed directly to the elimination round. This comprises a total of eight matches: four quarterfinals, two semifinals, and the decisive bronze and gold medal matches. Thus, the final stage sees a total of eight matches in the knockout round. The Challenger team with the lowest ranking in the ongoing edition of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) will participate in the Volleyball Challenger Cup (VCC), which takes place after the VNL. The champion of the current VCC earns a promotion to compete in the next edition of the VNL.

Who is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) by edition?

1) Year – 2018, MVP – Maxim Mikhaylov (Russia)
2) Year – 2019, MVP – Matt Anderson (United States of America)
3) Year- 2021, MVP (s) –  Wallace de Souza (Brazil) and  Bartosz Kurek (Poland)
4) Year – 2022, MVP – Earvin N’Gapeth (France)

Winners of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League from its beginning to date

Final Host (Year)Champions & Runner UpScoreThird Place & Fourth PlaceScore
Lille (2018)Russia defeated France3–0United States defeated Brazil3–0
Chicago (2019)Russia defeated United States3–1Poland defeated Brazil3–0
Rimini (2021)Brazil defeated Poland3–1France defeated Slovenia3–0
Bologna (2022)France defeated United States3–2Poland defeated Italy3–0

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