Days after Canada and Mexico claimed last spots at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 through WOQT in Japan and Mexico respectively, the pools composition was officially confirmed by FIVB.
The pools formula repeats the one prior to the Olympics in London 2012. Twelve teams split into two pools of six were set up through serpentine system based on FIVB Ranking from January 2016. Brazil, as the host of the Rio 2016, were automatically placed in pool A, with the following best team placed in pool B.
All teams will play in round robin system during pool round with the best four form each pool advancing to the quarter-final round.
Full list of Rio 2016 participants
World Cup 2015 winner and runner-up
Continental Olympic Qualifiers winners
- Cuba (NORCECA)
- Russia (Europe)
- Argentina (South America)
- Egypt (Africa)
Top four teams of World Olympic Qualifier in Japan
- Iran (as top Asian team)
Winner of World Olympic Qualifier in Mexico
Pool A top team, hosts Brazil, will be joined by Italy (fourth in the FIVB Ranking), USA (fifth), Canada (tenth), France (tenth) and Mexico (24th). Poland (second) opens Pool B followed by Russia (third), Argentina (sixth), Iran (eighth), Cuba (15th) and Egypt (17th).
What could have been…
Jastrzebski Wegiel’s coach Mark Lebedew pointed out that pools could have looked differently if in 2015 FIVB awarded teams with Ranking points differently. During World League 2015 France won two finals – Group 2 Final Four that gave them spot at the Group 1 Final Six and the latter final after that. That situation wasn’t expected by the FIVB when the formula of World League was created, therefore the team from Group 2 couldn’t get points for winning the Final Six.
In this case pool A would be: Brazil, Italy, USA, Iran, Canada and Mexico while in Pool B Poland, Russia and Argentina would play with France, Cuba and Egypt. Would that affect the podium…?
Rio 2016 Podium
Who will top the podium at the Olympic Games in August? France’s coach Laurent Tillie shared with Volleyverse his thoughts on favourites to win medals: Brazil, Russia and USA. Roberto Santilli, who’s team Australia missed the Olympic berth losing to Poland on the last day, named Brazil and USA as teams who will play the gold medal match. His player, Nehemiah ‘Nemo’ Mote, sticks with hosting team Brazil as the main favourites to make Rio 2016 podium.
“Currently Brazil is one of the best teams in the world, and remind us of it time and again. And with the Olympics in their backyard, although they’re accustomed to constant expectation and pressure to perform, I think one would be in denial if they said Brazil wouldn’t be the favourites in Rio.”
“Brazil at home will be favorite, but USA, Russia will be in the run as well. If Poland or France make it out of the qualifiers they could be contenders based on their recent results“, said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag before WOQT in Japan.
Four votes for Brazil, three for USA, two for Russia and one for Poland and France. Interestingly none of the coaches and players named Italy, who qualified for the Olympics as the first from all European teams, finishing second at the World Cup (behind USA). Will their picks become true? We’ll find out in August…