FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2018 – when, where, tournament format

Tuesday, 04 Sep 2018
Lawrence Fernandez - Editor - @lancefernandez

The Poland senior men’s volleyball team will look to defend its title at the 2018 FIVB Men’s World Championship. This will be the 19th edition of the said tournament and for the first time ever, it will be hosted by two nations.

When and where will the 2018 Men’s World Championships be held?

The competition will run from September 9 to 30 in nine cities spanning two countries: Italy and Bulgaria. The first two games will be held simultaneously at Rome in Italy and Varna and Bulgaria. After which, the succeeding games of the first round will be played from September 12 to 18, 2018.

Teams under Pool A will play their matches at the Foro Italico Tennis Center Court in Rome or at the Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy. Meanwhile, Pool B action will be played at the Arena Ruse in Ruse, Bulgaria while Pool C will battle it out at the PalaFlorio in Bari, Italy. Pool D will be contested at the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria.

The second round (Pools E, F, G, H) will be played from September 21 to 23. Pool E teams will play at the Mediolanum Forum in Assago, Italy while Pool F participants will conduct matches at the Land Rover Arena in Bologna, Italy. Pool G will head to Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria while Pool H is at Varna’s Palace of Culture and Sports.

Round three is scheduled from the 26th to the 28th while the semifinals are slated on September 29. The matches for Bronze and Gold will be contested on the last day of the month. All matches from the 26th to the 30th will be played at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy.

Men’s World Championships tournament format

After a series of tournaments organized by the five FIVB confederations (Asian Volleyball Confederation, Confédération Européenne de Volleyball, Confederación Sudamericana de Voleibol, Confédération Africaine de Volleyball, and the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation), 21 of the 24 participating teams have qualified for the Men’s World Championship. Italy and Bulgaria got automatic bids as hosts while Poland had an outright slot as defending champions.

The 24 teams are divided into four pools that will compete in the first round. The top seven teams in the world plus the hosts are divided via Serpentine System to each of the four pools. But for this year’s edition, Italy and Bulgaria were placed in Pools A and D, respectively. Meanwhile, the groupings of the remaining 16 nations were drawn to ensure that each pool will not have more than three teams from the same confederation.

That being said, here are the pools for the 2018 FIVB Men’s World Championship (numbers in parenthesis denote world ranking):

Pool A – Italy (hosts), Argentina (7), Japan (12), Belgium (15), Slovenia (23), Dominican Republic (38)
Pool B – Brazil (1), Canada (6), France (9), Egypt (13), China (20), Netherlands (25)
Pool C – United States (2), Russia (4), Serbia (11), Australia (16), Tunisia (24), Cameroon (30)
Pool D – Bulgaria (hosts), Poland (3), Iran (8), Cuba (16), Finland (18), Puerto Rico (29)

Each team will face the other squads in their pool once and the top four teams in per pool will advance to the second round. The rankings per pool will be determined by the number of wins. If two or more teams have the same number of wins, the tie will be broken via the number of points acquired. Winning a match in three or four sets will give the winner three points. But if it goes to a fifth set, the winner gets only two points while the loser gets one.

If they are still tied, the set quotient (number of sets won over number of sets lost) and the points quotient (number of points scored over number of points given) will be determine the rankings. If these are still identical, the win-over-the-other rule will take place.

The remaining 16 teams will participate in round two and be grouped into four pools as such:

Pool E – Pool A 1st, Pool B 2nd, Pool C 3rd, Pool D 4th
Pool F – Pool B 1st, Pool A 2nd, Pool A 3rd, Pool C 4th
Pool G – Pool C 1st, Pool D 2nd, Pool D 3rd, Pool B 4th
Pool H – Pool D 1st, Pool C 2nd, Pool B 3rd, Pool A 4th

Another single round robin ensues until the top teams per pool plus the two best second placers will move to the third round. Tiebreaker rules from the first round apply to the second round as well.

The third round is composed of two pools, each comprised of two of the four top teams from the second round plus one of the top-ranked second placers. A draw will be done for the top teams while the first and second runner-up finishers are assigned to Pools I and J respectively. After competing in another single round robin, the top two teams per pool will move to the semifinals.

For the right to move into the finals, the top finisher in Pool I will face the runner-up in Pool J. Likewise, the top team in Pool J will face the second-best in Pool I for a shot at the gold medal. The losers of both semifinal matches will compete in the bronze medal game. Meanwhile, the winner between the two semifinal victors will be hailed world champions.

Despite missing out on a medal, there is still merit to finishing high for each place corresponds to a number of points that can help determine the world rankings.

Click here to know how to watch the FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship 2018.