Women’s World Championship excitement builds as full Match Schedule is announced
The host country Italy has automatically qualified for the quadrennial event, which will take place from September 23 to October 12, while 22 of the 23 teams have been determined through qualifying tournaments held within the five FIVB Confederations (AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA) to date. The sixth NORCECA vacancy will be decided from July 14 to 21 in Trinidad and Tobago, when the second placed team from the third round qualification tournament, play off for the final Confederation place in the tournament.
Defending champions Russia (WR 6) will begin their bid for a third successive title when they take on Thailand (WR 12) in their opening Pool C match of the Championship, scheduled to take place in Verona, in the first of three phases of the quadrennial tournament.
Three phase tournament
In the first phase, the 24 participating teams are divided into four pools of six teams following the Drawing of Lots, which took place in Parma on March 10. The teams will play in a round-robin system over five days – three matches per day – with four cities (Rome, Trieste, Verona and Bari) hosting a pool each.
The first round of the FIVB Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 will take place from September 23 to 28, in Roma, Trieste, Verona and Bari, with a total of 12 matches played on the opening day of the first round.
In Pool A, Argentina (WR 18) will take on Croatia (WR 24), the Dominican Republic (WR 8) will play against Germany (WR 9) and hosts Italy (WR 4) will take on Tunisia (WR 27) in Roma.
The Pool B matches in Trieste will see Canada (WR 20) take on Cameroon (WR 26) and Serbia (WR 7) play against Turkey (WR 11). The last Pool B match of the day will see Brazil (WR 1) – current Olympic champions and 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix and FIVB World Grand Champions Cup title holders – take on Bulgaria (WR 35). The South Americans are hoping to add to their impressive list of recent accolades with their first ever World Championship title.
Verona will host the Pool C matches between the Netherlands (WR 18) and Kazakhstan (WR 23), Russia (WR 6) and Thailand (WR 12), and USA (WR 2) and the NORCECA 6 representative. Finally, Pool D in Bari will see China (WR 5) against Puerto Rico (WR 17), Japan (WR 3) take on Azerbaijan (WR 37) and Cuba (WR 21) play Belgium (WR 22).
The top four teams of each pool will advance to the second round (in Bari, Trieste, Verona and Modena), where the 16 teams will be split into two pools of eight (top four teams of Pool A and D will play in Pool E, top four of Pool B and Pool C will play in Pool F), with the top three of each pool advancing to the third round.
The top three teams from the two second-round pools will advance to the third round with the winners, placed in each pool, while the second and third will be drawn. The third and Final Round will consist of a round-robin system, with the top two teams of each pool advancing to the semifinals before the Final Round takes place in Milan on October 12. The third ranked teams will be tied for fifth place.
Russia hoping for third World Championship title
Russia won their second straight FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship title in Japan in 2010 after beating Brazil in the Final. Japan completed the podium after beating USA in the bronze medal match.
Russia, the first European country to qualify for the 2014 edition of the Championship after hosts Italy, will be looking for a third consecutive win in the tournament after topping the podium in 2006 and 2010, while their predecessor, the Soviet Union, took the title in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1970 and 1990.
With the most number of wins in the history of the Championship, Russia is followed by Japan (1962, 1967, 1974) and Cuba (1978, 1994, 1998) with three titles each, China with two (1982, 1986) and hosts Italy with one, which they earned in 2002.
Italy proud hosts
Italy will host the Women’s World Championship for the first time ever. As one of volleyball’s strongest and proudest nations, the best of women’s volleyball will have a wonderful stage to perform on, especially after an outstanding standard was set during the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in 2010.
A total of six cities - Rome, Trieste, Verona, Bari, Modena, and Milan - will host the FIVB’s premier tournament for women six cities well known as historic volleyball venues at Italian club level, especially the host of the finals – Milan.
Italy has hosted many women’s competitions in the past - the FIVB Junior World Championships in 1985, four European Championships (1971, 1991, 1999 and 2011) and three finals of the FIVB World Grand Prix (2003, 2004, 2006) - but it is the first time for the FIVB Women’s World Championship.
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