2018 FIVB MEN’S VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE – WEEK 1/POOL 1
- May 25th-27th, 2018
- Kindarena, Rouen, France
- Time Zone: GMT + 2 (US Eastern Time +6)
- World Rankings: #8 Iran, #9 France, #12 Japan, #16 Australia
|DATE||LOCAL TIME||U.S. EASTERN TIME||HOME||VISITOR|
Entering the first week of the Volleyball Nations League, all 16 teams are on equal footing. This year, our team predicts it will take 25 or 26 points, which translates to 2 wins per week, to advance out of pool play to the Final 6.
A 3-0 or a 3-1 win earns the maximum 3 points for the winner and 0 points for the losers. A 3-2 win earns 2 points for the winner and 1 point for the loser.
This pool features arguably the four best liberos in the world so look for long rallies and great digs to extend points. With all four teams pretty closely ranked, between 8 and 16, there should be some intense competition and expect few 3-0 wins for this pool.
Despite being ranked #9, France should be the favorite for this pool as they were the winners of the 2017 World League and return a lot of their starters. Australia is bringing a very young roster with only 2 players in their 30’s. Last year they were in Group 2 but received a core team appointment and will be moved up. In contrast, Iran brings the most experienced group of players with 8 olympians.
STAR PLAYERS TO WATCH
- France – The 2017 World League winners, France, returns an experienced roster with 2017 World League Best Setter Benjamin Toniutti and the 2018 CEV Best Libero Jenia Grebbenikov anchoring the majority of their ball control. Not only do they have strong first and second touches, but they also bring back some offense with Kevin Le Roux, Earvin Ngapeth and Julien Lyneel. Additionally, France has brought young guns Trever Clevenot, Stephen Boyer and Barthelemy Chinenyeze. Will Ngapeth’s recent run in with the law affect France’s on court chemistry?
- Australia – Australia is bringing a young roster to this competition with an average player age of only 25. With only 3 players in their 30’s, Australia’s youth will be tested early on, however, Luke Perry, the 2016 Olympic Qualification Tournament Best Libero, will help to guide the back row.
- Iran – Iran brings a strong and experienced roster for this first week including half of their 2016 roster. In addition to these players, the squad is also bringing in new blood including Amir Toukhteh, who was named Best Middle Blocker for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship.
- Japan – This team won the 2017 Asian Volleyball Championships and three of those players were named to the all tournament team: Yuki Ishikawa, Naonobu Fujii, and Haku Ri. With the experience of this squad, Japan should challenge the top teams throughout this tournament.