Home » CHALLENGER CUP W: Eight Nations Compete for 2024 VNL Spot, France and Ukraine Advance to Semifinals

CHALLENGER CUP W: Eight Nations Compete for 2024 VNL Spot, France and Ukraine Advance to Semifinals

by WoV

The race is on for the last available spot in the 2024 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) with the kick-off of the fourth edition of the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup. Hailing from all corners of the globe, eight female national teams are squaring off this week in a four-day single-elimination tournament held in Laval, France.

Teams from Kenya, Vietnam, Croatia, France, Sweden, Ukraine, Mexico, and Colombia will battle it out at the Espace Mayenne, each hoping to secure the coveted spot in next year’s VNL. The international representation of the tournament spans all five continents, showcasing the global passion for the sport.

Photo: Volleyball World

Croatia stands out as the only participant with previous VNL experience. The European team won the 2022 Challenger Cup, but after ranking as the lowest challenger side in this year’s VNL, they must defend their title to secure a spot in 2024. However, their journey faced an early setback with Ukraine dealing them a surprise defeat, 3-1, in the quarterfinals. Ukraine’s stellar performance, led by Anastasia Kraiduba and Olesandra Milenko, prevailed against a Croatian team playing without their captain and star player, Samanta Fabris.

In the first quarterfinal, hosts France confidently dispatched Vietnam with a 3-0 victory. Guided by Lucille Gicquel and Héléna Cazaute, the French squad capitalized on their home court advantage, despite an outstanding performance from Vietnam’s Thi Thanh Thuy Tran.

The competition heats up tomorrow with Mexico set to challenge Sweden, and Colombia facing off against Kenya in the remaining quarterfinals.

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