Men's VNL under starter's orders
Rio 2016 Olympic champions Brazil are in Kraljevo, Serbia, for the opening weekend, where they also get to play Germany and Rio 2016 silver medallists Italy.
Serbia and Iran before the second of two friendly matches in Kraljevo in preparation for the start of the VNL.
And reigning world champions Poland host a pool of their own in Katowice - exactly where they won that world trophy four years ago - featuring Canada, Korea and Russia (with all four teams moving to Krakow on Saturday and Sunday).
France, winners of the last FIVB Volleyball World League, last year, also host a pool in Rouen, with Australia, Iran and Japan. The hosts have secured their place in the Final Six as hosts of the event in Lille.
And in Ningbo, China entertain Argentina, Bulgaria and USA.
The four pools of the opening weekend:
• Pool 1 in Rouen: France, Australia, Iran, Japan.
• Pool 2 in Ningbo: China, Argentina, Bulgaria, USA.
• Pool 3 in Katowice & Krakow: Poland, Canada, Korea, Russia.
• Pool 4 in Kraljevo: Serbia, Brazil, Germany, Italy.
Poland lost in Katowice to Canada in their latest friendly as both sides prepare for the start of the VNL.
Quick links: FIVB Volleyball Nations League
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