The Confederation Europeenne de Volleyball (CEV) has announced the draw for the women’s tournament to qualify forward to the 2018 World Women’s Championships.
Unlike on the men’s bracket, where 3 spots for Europe have already been assigned, all 8 spots for the European women are still up for grabs.
The team’s 36 remaining teams in the qualification (after a small countries qualification round) will split into 6 pools of 6 teams each that will play a single round-robin tournament from May 30th-June 4th, 2017.
The winners of each of those pools will advance to the 2018 World Championships automatically, while the 6 runners-up will advance to the final 3rd-round group. That 3rd-round group will play one last round-robin tournament from August 22nd-27th, and the 1st and 2nd place teams that emerge from that tournament will also advance to the World Championships.
There they will face 2 teams from Africa, 5 teams from Asia, 6 teams from North America, and 2 teams from South America. Japan is already qualified as the hosts, the United States is qualified as the reigning champions, and Brazil has already qualified through as the 2015 South American champions.
European 2nd round pools:
- Pool A: Croatia (org.), Russia, Hungary, Greece, Austria, Georgia.
- Pool B: Poland (org.), Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus, Iceland.
- Pool C: Bulgaria ( org.), Turkey, Romania, Switzerland, Montenegro, Kosovo.
- Pool D: Belgium (org.), Italy, Belarus, Spain, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Pool E: Azerbaijan (org.), Netherlands, Israel, Ukraine, Denmark , Norway
- Pool F: Portugal (org.), Germany, France, Finland, Slovenia, Estonia
All 6 groups are fairly evenly balanced; unlike the men’s tournament no one group is overwhelmingly top-heavy. The toughest group will be group B. Based on World Rankings: Serbia (#3), Poland (#22), Czech Republic (#25), Slovakia (#33), Cyprus (#44), and Iceland (#97), there will be no easy path through the group.
No one group has more than 2 teams that participated in the 2014 World Championships. In 2014, however, Europe got 10 places in the tournament, which means that at least 2 teams that participated in the last go-around will not be back in Tokyo.
The 2018 World Championships will be held from September 30th-October 21st.