France (FRA) vs. Netherlands (NED) women - Pool 3 - Preliminary Phase #16334686

The Netherlands and Canada once again swapped their places on the two sides of the cut-off line for Olympic qualification in the FIVB World Ranking, promising more excitement in the race for Paris 2024 tickets during the last competition week of the Preliminary Phase in the women’s 2024 Volleyball Nations League, after which the women’s line-up for the Games will be finalized. The Dutch finished their second competition week in Macao with a sweep of their encounter with Olympic hosts and VNL rookies France and surpassed Canada in the World Ranking by enough points to secure their place within the qualification zone at least until June 11. Meanwhile China lost to Italy in straight sets and gave up their leading position in the race for the Asian berth at Paris 2024 with Japan.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2024 live on VBTV

The emphatic 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-21) victory over France on Sunday brought the Netherlands 4.09 ranking points, which placed them 4.06 points above Canada in the World Ranking. Even if the North Americans shut out Korea in their last game over in Arlington later on Sunday, the maximum gain of 1.85 points will not be enough to regain their position above the red line. If they lose, however, it will cost them dearly, between 13.15 and 18.15 points.

Outside hitter Jolien Knollema was Netherlands’ best scorer in their win over France. She contributed 14 points, including three kill blocks and an ace. Her cross-court teammate added another 11 points, while middle blocker Indy Baijens impressed with four aces. The Netherlands improved to a 4-4 win-loss record and 12 points to keep their ninth place in the current VNL standings, while France are 14th on 1-7 and 4.

“We had a difficult start into this week, against world-class opponents like China and Brazil, and we already showed up in moments during these games playing with them on a good level, but we knew we had to raise the level more,” Netherlands’ German head coach Felix Koslowski told Volleyball World. “We are not watching this World Ranking thing too much at the moment, because we have to work on our game. We got into this VNL with a lot of injuries and we had to play with a lot of young players. What’s happening in the World Ranking is not in our hands. What is in our hands is only trying to keep growing our game and playing better and better match by match. And in the end of the VNL we’ll see where we are.”

Brazil stay unbeaten after two competition weeks

On the last competition day in Macao, Brazil made sure they stay undefeated in VNL 2024 and added the eighth victory to their winning run since the start of the competition. They mastered a 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-17) shutout of Thailand and improved to 8-0 and 22 points, two points below table leaders Poland. Thailand are in 12th place on 2-6 and 5.

Four Brazilian players lined up above the double-digit mark in the match against Thailand: outside Gabriela Guimaraes with 13 points, opposite Tainara Santos with 12, middle Diana Duarte Alecrim with 11 (five kill blocks), and outside Julia Bergmann with 10. Thailand’s outside Chatchu-On Moksri was the best scorer of the match with 14 points.

Italy shut out China to help Japan jump over their Asian rivals in the World Ranking

In the last match on the Macao programme, Italy recovered from Saturday’s five-set loss to Brazil with a straight-set victory over hosts China, further consolidating their status as the highest ranked candidate for the remaining Olympic vacancies. Meanwhile, China lost their status as the highest ranked Asian team in the race for the continent’s berth at Paris 2024, giving it up to Japan. However, both are likely to qualify for the Games as they are well positioned in the general ranking, with a safety gap of over 40 points above the cut-off.

Star opposite Paola Egonu was above all in Italy’s 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-16) sweep of the game against China. She led the way with 16 points, including two aces and a block. Outside Myriam Sylla and middle Marina Lubian finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Three players reached the double digits on China’s side as well: middle and captain Yuan Xinyue with 12 points, outside Li Yingying with 11, and opposite Gong Xiangyu with 10.

Italy stand third in the table on 6-2 and 19. China are sixth on 5-3 and 15.

The second competition week in the women’s VNL is set to finish later on Sunday with the three games in Arlington, United States: Korea v Canada at 11:30 local time (16:30 UTC), USA v Türkiye at 15:00 (20:00), and Bulgaria v Germany at 18:30 (23:30).

  • Get your VNL merchandise now by clicking here
  • Sync the VNL 2024 with your calendar here
  • Download the VNL Fantasy app here