With the African qualifier for the 2018 Volleyball Men’s World Championship over, only the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) qualifier, to be held November 10-12 in Pinar del Río, remains to complete the 24 teams to compete in the Championship to be co-hosted for the first time.
Italy and Bulgaria will host the competition, held every four years, a novelty that will see the tournament spread across the cities of Bari, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Rome and Turin in the Italian peninsula; while the Bulgarian capital of Sofia and the resort of Varna and Ruse will also host world volleyball players, September 10-30, 2018.
Both nations have their place at the tournament secured, while the other 20 teams to have qualified are: Poland, current World Champion, which hosted the 2014 edition; France, Holland, Slovenia, Russia, Serbia, Finland and Belgium, from the European continent.
Meanwhile, Japan, Iran, China and Australia make up the Asian teams, Brazil and Argentina will represent South America, whilst Tunisia, Egypt and Cameroon will represent the African continent.
The United States, the Dominican Republic (returning to the competition after a 44-year absence), and Canada were the three teams to qualify in the NORCECA event previously held in Colorado Springs, the U.S., to which Cuba and Puerto Rico were unable to attend given the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, respectively.
The U.S. city, considered the heart of the country’s volleyball movement, was set to decide five teams for the 2018 World Championships, but as the Cuban and Puerto Rican teams were unable to participate, it was decided that the top three teams would qualify, with the remaining two to be decided in Pinar del Río.
The Cuban city’s 19 de Noviembre volleyball court will see the two Caribbean teams compete alongside Mexico and Guatemala, who came fourth and fifth in Colorado Springs. The hosts and Puerto Rico are expected to have the best chances of qualifying in this single round-robin tournament to secure a place at the World competition.