USA to face old rivals in first round of 2018 Women's World Championship
USA celebrate their success at the 2014 World Championship atop the winners' podium
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 7, 2018 – Reigning women’s world champions USA will face old rivals Russia in the opening pool round of the Japan 2018, FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship.
The drawing of lots was held at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo on Wednesday, and split the 24 teams participating in the event into four first round pools of six teams each. Click here for more information on the competition format.
The Japan 2018 edition of the FIVB's flagship event for women's national teams will take place in the cities of Yokohama, Hamamatsu, Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka and Sapporo from September 29 to October 20.
The USA won the Italy 2014 World Championship with victory in the final over China, and in doing so they succeeded Russia as world champions after they had won the tournament in 2006 and 2010. They also defeated Russia 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23) in the third pool stage to ensure their progress to the semifinals.
Karch Kiraly’s team followed up that success by winning the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix when they defeated Russia in the final round. They also won bronze at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, while Russia lost to Serbia in the quarterfinals.
The old rivals have been placed in Pool C, which will take place at the 6,000-capacity Kobe Green Arena in Kobe. Korea, Thailand, Azerbaijan and Trinidad and Tobago complete the pool.
Hosts Japan are chasing a fourth world title and their first since Mexico 1974. They will begin their campaign in Yokohama at the 12,000-capacity Yokohama Arena, which will later host the semifinals and medal matches.
Japan will face European silver medallists the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Cameroon and Mexico.
Olympic champions China have not won the World Championship since 1986. They last appeared on the medal podium when they won silver at the Italy 2014 edition.
They will face three tricky European opponents in Italy, Turkey and Bulgaria, as well as Canada and Cuba at the 8,000-capacity Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in Sapporo.
European champions Serbia won a World Championship medal for the first and only time at the 2006 edition when they won bronze.
They will travel full of confidence following their success at the 2017 European Championship, but first must make it past the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Kazakhstan and Kenya, who they will play at the Hamamatsu Arena.
The Women’s World Championship will follow on from the Italy-Bulgaria 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship that runs from September 9 to 30. The draw for the Men's World Championship was held in Florence, Italy on November 30. Click here for more information.