The 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League is currently in progress, having started on the 28th of May after the postponement last year to the ongoing world crisis. The tournament will run to the 27th of June, when the winning team will be announced following the final. The competition is being held in the city of Rimini, Italy and is a relatively new event, with the first edition being played in 2018.
The winners of the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League was Russia and they showed their dominance again by winning the title for a second time in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there was no tournament in 2020 but Russia return in 2021 to make it a hattrick of wins.
There is a total of 16 teams in the competition and they compete in a round-robin format. The teams play 3 matches each week and there are 5 weeks of matches in total, meaning a total of 120 matches ahead of the knockout stage. The top four teams after the preliminary round qualify for the final round and the semi-final winners advance to the final, with a chance of being crowned the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League winner.
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The best place to begin when predicting who might taste success is to look back at the previous winners and as highlighted as above, that’s Russia. It would be considered a shock if the Russians did not progress to the knockout stages of the tournament and from there, it is difficult to bet against them.
However, Brazil will have something to say about that and they believe they have what it takes to reach the final. Their early results in the competition back-up that claim and they have got themselves into a strong position early in the standings. Every match counts due to the format and having played 12 games at the time of writing, they have won 11 and top the rankings.
United States have reached one Volleyball Nations League final and they came second best to Russia in 2019, the most recent edition of the tournament. The US finished third in 2018, meaning they have made progress and will be hoping that continues in 2021. However, they have work to do having made a mixed start but it is worth remembering the preliminary stage lasts for 5 weeks and positions can be skewed due to the teams each nation has played.
Both France and Poland know what it takes to reach the final rounds of the Nations League. The French finished as runners-up in 2018 but came sixth in 2019. Poland were fifth in 2018 and improved in 2019, claiming the bronze medal. France and Poland could be teams to watch in the latter stages, should they make it through the preliminary round.
Other teams to look our for include Slovenia, Serbia, and Argentina.