Men's VNL – Who are your breakout teams in 2019?
2018 VNL MVP Maxim Mikhaylov spikes against Brazil in the inaugural edition of the competition last year
A Bulgaria-based volleyball, beach volleyball and snow volleyball journalist, Nikolay Markov is an fivb.com editor since 2012. In 2008 he founded BugarianVolley.com and later worked at the CEV and the BFV. Since 2011 he has been in charge of media communications at VC Maritza Plovdiv. He played some volleyball at college level in the United States and at amateur level in Bulgaria.
A long-standing FIVB writer and media delegate based in Greece, Constantine Dimaras first started contributing to the international federation's website in 2006. Favourite memories include covering the 1986 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in France and working for the Olympic News Service at the Athens 2004 Olympics.
Obviously there's other contenders to the throne, such as reigning world champions Poland, defending VNL champions Russia and reigning Olympic champions Brazil and a host of other hopefuls - but in the end it will all come down to a very intricate and strategical game of managing resources in a month-and-a-half long tournament with a fair amount of travelling - all the while keeping an eye on the other competitions of the season, following immediately after the VNL.
A sport information specialist based in Manila, Philippines, Anna Tomas worked as a volleyball specialist at the 2006 Asian Games and 2008 Olympic Games and has been an FIVB.com editor since 2013 and a media delegate for AVC and FIVB competitions. One of her favourite memories is of the thousands of fans who flocked to Katowice to support Poland in the final of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship.
Poland is another top favourite because of their back-to-back wins at the World Championship. Michal Kubiak and his teammates bring a lot of spark to their offence each time and the team's younger players also provide a lot of dimension to their game.
The third team on the list is France because of their creativity and explosiveness on the court. Benjamin Toniutti directs ingenious plays for the phenomenal Earvin Ngapeth who never runs out of entertaining moves. Of course, Stephen Boyer was a great revelation last year and will add to France’s already multi-dimensional game.
FIVB.com - Volleyball
Carrying on from last year’s successful competition, the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League continues on the same format of 12 core teams and 4 challenger teams per gender.
The men's core teams are: Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and USA. They are complemented by the challenger teams of Australia, Bulgaria and Canada, plus newcomers Portugal who won last year’s Challenger Cup and are replacing Korea who were relegated last year.
The 2019 women's VNL began on May 21 preceding the start of the men's competition on May 31. The 2019 VNL retains a similar calendar to last year, with women playing during the week and men playing over the weekends in pools of four teams each until each has played against every other in a single round robin tournament. The women's Finals will follow in Nanjing, China from July 3 to 7 and the men's Finals in Chicago, USA from July 10 to 14.
Women’s VNL – Who are your breakout teams in 2019?
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