The five-set battle between USA and France ended with both teams qualified for the VNL Finals

The United States’ five-set victory against France on day 3 of the third week of the Men’s Volleyball Nations League 2022 Preliminary Phase confirmed the presence of both USA and France in the Finals of the tournament, alongside hosts Italy and Poland.

With 23 more matches set to take place in Osaka, Japan, and Gdansk, Poland, nine of the 12 remaining teams are still able to join the eight squads that will compete for the title of the fourth edition of the VNL from July 20-24 in Bologna, Italy.

· Watch all VNL 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

With their victory over the reigning Olympic champions, the Americans are now at the top of the standings with eight wins and 22 points and will remain among the best eight teams in the event until the end of the week.

Right below them with seven wins and the same 22 points, France, Italy and Poland have all booked their tickets to Bologna too. The Italians were already guaranteed a place as the host country of the Finals, but now also have enough good results to remain among the best eight teams of the tournament until the end of the Preliminary Phase.

Slovenia, who currently rank ninth and are the first side outside the qualification zone, have four wins and could also get to seven at the end of the Preliminary Round. With only 12 points earned as of now, however, they can only improve it 21, which keeps the French and Poles out of reach.

The teams who could book their places next are Japan, who have seven victories (21 points) and play Canada on Friday, and defending champions Brazil, who have won six of their first nine matches (18 points) and face the Canadians on Thursday and France on Friday.

Currently ranked seventh with six wins and 17 points, the Netherlands need two more wins to secure their presence in the Finals, not considering other results. They will play Bulgaria on Friday and Poland on Saturday.

Iran are the team most directly threatened by the Slovenians and also by Serbia, who have four wins and 11 points. The Asians, however, are in control of their fate and will advance if they come out on top of their two matches (Slovenia on Friday and Serbia on Saturday).

Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists Argentina started the third week well, collecting all three points in their 3-1 victory over Canada in Osaka, but remain in a difficult position with three wins and 11 points and will need to go undefeated in the Japanese city to preserve their chances of playing in the Finals.

China and Canada, with two victories and six points, could still catch Iran, but that would only happen in a complex combination of results. They also have another battle to fight as they need to rank above either Bulgaria (one win, six points) or Australia (one win, two points), who are both eliminated from the race for the Finals, in order to secure their presence in the VNL 2023 without having to compete at the Volleyball Challenger Cup.

Currently ranked 12th with three wins and seven points, Germany can no longer make it to the Finals because they have only two more matches to play. As one of the core teams, the Germans are guaranteed to be back in the VNL next season.