A victory against the Netherlands has determined Japan will face Brazil for a spot in the semifinals

The 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship will now enter the direct knockout rounds, with only eight of the 24 teams that started the tournament still in contention after Phase 2 was concluded on Sunday in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The last day of the second phase of the World Championship featured three Pool E matches at the Ahoy Arena, with China prevailing over Belgium in three sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 27-25), Japan beating the Netherlands 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-21) and Puerto Rico downing Argentina 3-1 (20-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-23).

· Watch all FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

After 32 matches played across six days, the four best-ranked teams in Pool E, which was based in Rotterdam, and Pool F, which had Lodz, Poland, as its host city, moved forward to the quarterfinals, which will be played in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and Gliwice, Poland, on Tuesday. National teams from Europe, Asia, North and South America will play for the title.

The four teams to advance from Pool E were Italy, Brazil, Japan and China. The Italians will face the Chinese in one of the quarterfinal duels scheduled in Apeldoorn, with Brazilians and Japanese featuring in the other duel.

The teams advancing from Pool F, on the other hand, were Serbia, the United States, Türkiye and Poland. The defending champions Serbia will be challenged by hosts Poland in Gliwice, with Americans and Turkish also competing for a semifinal spot.

Serbia are the only team to reach the quarterfinals undefeated. The Europeans have been in top form since the first pool phase and carried their momentum into phase two, where they won all their four matches. Tijana Boskovic and her teammates have won all nine matches they played so far, tallying 26 points, with 27 sets won and just two lost.

Brazil were the only other national team to go unharmed in phase two. The South Americans found their best game in Rotterdam and, captained by Gabriela ‘Gabi’ Guimaraes, won all their four matches, showing strength ahead of the start of the elimination rounds.

One of their victories ended Italy’s unbeaten run in the tournament. The reigning Volleyball Nations League champions and FIVB Volleyball Women's World Ranking leaders entered phase 2 on the back of four wins, but couldn’t overcome the Brazilians in their first match in Rotterdam despite 37 points scored by star opposite Paola Egonu.

Hosts Poland ended phase 2 on a high. In their first match, the squad led by Joanna Wolosz and Magdalena Stysiak fell to Serbia in straight sets, but recovered in great style, sweeping reigning Olympic champions USA. The Poles couldn’t maintain the same level of play against Canada and Germany, but fought hard to secure five-set victories and will now enter the quarterfinals with good momentum.

Britt Herbots and Stysiak were the first players to score 200 points at the World Championship. The Belgian outside hitter topped the scoring charts with 222 points, while the Pole opposite got to 200 in her last phase 2 match, against Argentina.

With 29 block points scored in Brazil’s four Pool E matches, Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva built a comfortable lead at the top of the blocking rankings and now has 44 points, 12 more than Italian Anna Danesi. The most impressive blocking performance in the phase, however, was produced by Dutch Eline Timmerman, who had as many as 11 stops against Argentina.

The schedule for the quarterfinals is already set and Italy and China will be the first play in Apeldoorn, at 17.00 local time (15.00 GMT). Thirty minutes later, the United States and Türkiye will begin their duel in Gliwice. The second match in Apeldoorn, reuniting Brazil and Japan, will begin at 20.00 local time (18.00 GMT). At 20.30 local time (18.30 GMT), it will be time for Serbia and Poland to face each other in Gliwice.