VOLLEYBALL: Brazil wins men’s Nations League round-robin, with finals in Chicago starting 10 July

Leading U.S. scorer Ben Patch hits over the block vs. France (Photo: FIVB)

The men’s Nations League round-robin was completed over the weekend, with Brazil by far the best team in the league through 15 games. The final round-robin standings:

1. 39 points Brazil (14-1)
2. 36 points Iran (12-3)
3. 34 points Russia (12-3)
4. 34 points France (11-4)
5. 30 points Poland (11-4)
6. 28 points United States (9-6)
7. 26 points Argentina (8-7)
8. 25 points Italy (8-7)

Amazingly, the U.S. finished sixth, winning four of its last six matches, with a 3-1 win over Bulgaria, a 3-1 loss to Serbia and then a 3-0 shutout of Iran in the round-robin finale in games played in Plovdiv (BUL). The U.S. effort in the round-robin play was essentially irrelevant, since it qualified for the final round automatically as the host.

Brazil’s only loss was 3-2 to Serbia, which finished 6-9 on the season. That means that the Brazilians were 5-0 against the five teams they will face in the Nations League final.

The finals will be played at the Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago, Illinois, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, beginning on 10 July. The finals will be played in two pools:

Pool A: United States, Russia, France
Pool B: Brazil, Iran, Poland

The top two in each group will qualify for the semis on 13 July and the finals will be held on 14 July.

The top scorers in the round-robin included Japan’s Yuji Nishida with 220 points, followed by Amir Ghafour (IRI: 208) and Germany’s Simon Hirsch (205). Ben Patch was the top American scorer at 146 (18th). Complete results and schedules are here.