Serbians and Italians have met in key matches over the last five years, including the gold medal match at the 2018 World Championship

The 24 best teams in women's volleyball will compete for the most important gold medal of the season as of Friday at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in the Netherlands and Poland.

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

As many as 100 matches will be played from September 26 to October 15 and among them will be some duels characterized by immense rivalries.

Here are five to keep an eye on:

China vs. Japan

This is a match which already has a date and time. China and Japan will play each other at the Women's World Championship on September 28, at 14:15 local time, in Arnhem. The two teams are by far the most successful in the history of Asian volleyball, and the only Asian countries to hold Olympic and world titles. They have met on numerous occasions with big prizes on the line. Between the Asian Games, the Asian Championship and the Asian Cup, the two rivals have met in 14 gold medal matches, with the Chinese winning ten and the Japanese four, including the most recent encounter under a month ago at the Asian Cup.

Sarina Koga Successful Attacks Leader for Japan vs. China - Top Successful Attacks

The Netherlands vs. Belgium

Neighbours the Netherlands and Belgium are natural rivals in a variety of domains. Closely matched, their women's volleyball teams are an added source of competition. The Dutch currently occupy tenth place in the FIVB Women's Volleyball World Rankings and the Belgians come not too far behind in 12th. The Dutch have won their three most recent encounters with Belgium and their fans will certainly expect nothing less than another victory when the two teams meet in Arnhem, on September 30, at 20.00 local time, in their fourth Pool A match. It could be a key match for both sides. The series between the two teams has ten Dutch victories and two Belgian triumphs to date.

Britt Herbots Top Plays vs. Netherlands

Kenya vs. Cameroon

African women’s volleyball is steadily improving and Kenya and Cameroon are the best reflexes of its progress. Their national teams were the ones that represented their continent in the 2018 World Championship and the last two Olympics – the Cameroonians at the Rio Games and the Kenyans in Tokyo. The rivals have played each other in the gold medal match of the last five continental tournaments, with Cameroon winning the African Championship in 2017, 2019 and 2021 and Kenya triumphing at the African Games in 2015 and 2019. Drawn into Pool A, Cameroonians and Kenyans will face each other on September 27, at 20.00 local time, in Arnhem. There have been nine encounters between the African rivals so far with five Kenyan wins, but the Cameroonians took the last two matches.

Serbia vs. Italy

The finalists of the last edition of the World Championship cannot meet before the quarterfinals this year, but if they do play each other, it’s going to be a fiery match. Serbians and Italians have been the most successful European national teams over the last few years and have met quite a few times in key moments of the tournaments they played in the period. The Serbians have been on the winning side of this rivalry so far, having triumphed in the gold medal matches of the 2018 World Championship and the 2019 European Championship as well as in the quarterfinals of last year’s Tokyo Olympics – the Italians came out on top in the continental final last year, when they topped the Serbian in their homecourt Belgrade. The European rivals have met 25 times and the Serbians won 14, but the Italians were the winners in the last two.

USA vs. Brazil

It’s a similar story with Americans and Brazilians, except that this rivalry has been going on for a bit longer and has involved more than one generation on both sides. Their most relevant encounter at the World Championship happened in 2014, when the Americans prevailed in the semifinal on their way to winning gold, but this matchup has already been repeated in gold medal matches at three Olympics, two editions of the Volleyball Nations League and four of the FIVB World Grand Prix. Brazilians won back-to-back Olympic golds over the Americans in 2008 and 2012, but the USA have been the most successful as of late, striking gold at the 2021 VNL and last year’s Tokyo Games against the South Americans. If they meet at the World Championship this year, it will be from the quarterfinals on, meaning another exciting duel could be on its way. Their next encounter could even the series between them as while the Brazilians have won 32 times, the Americans, who triumphed on 31 occasions, came out on top in the five most recent battles.