First Women’s World Championship in Italy Will Be an “Unforgettable Event”
Italy has hosted many women’s competitions in the past – the 1985 FIVB Junior Volleyball World Championships, four European Championships (1971, 1991, 1999 and 2011) and three FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix finals (2003, 2004, and 2006) – but this is a first for the great volleyball nation. Never, in the history of the tournament, has Italy hosted a FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships and the 17th edition of the event is set to become the biggest celebration of women’s volleyball in history.
FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° is confident that “the marvellous country” of Italy – with its great tradition of sport and culture – will host one of the best World Championships ever.
“We are pleased to have Italy host such an important event,” Dr. Graça said. “The country is known for its passion for volleyball and its commitment to producing top notch action. Italy volleyball will produce an unforgettable event.”
The home games and the Finals of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League, with thousands of delighted fans in attendance, showed the “eclectic atmosphere” that can be expected at the event. “I am very much looking forward to seeing what the teams will offer at the 2014 World Championship and hope that the fans will enjoy the 20 days of fierce volleyball action across the country.”
A total of six cities – Bari, Milan, Modena, Rome, Trieste and Verona – will host the FIVB’s premier tournament for women. As one of volleyball’s strongest and proudest nations, the best of women’s volleyball will have a unique stage on which to perform, especially following on from the success of the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship.
The rise in standards was evident in the lead-up to the event: a record 127 countries took part in the qualifying process for the 2014 Women’s World Championship – a huge increase on the 101 teams that battled for a ticket to the 2010 finals. The spike in popularity has resulted in some big-name casualties including Poland, centred around star Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale, who surprisingly failed to qualify.
The 24 teams that did earn a berth have been divided into four pools of six teams for the first round, which begins on September 23 with a round-robin. Four cities (Bari, Rome, Trieste and Verona) will each host a pool. The top four teams in each pool will advance to the second round (in Bari, Modena, Trieste and Verona) where the 16 teams will be split into two pools of eight (first and second from Pool A and B, third and fourth from Pool C and D in one group, third and fourth from Pool A and B and first and second from Pool C and D in the other).
The top three teams in each of the two second round pools will advance to the third and final round. The four winners will be placed in the two pools with the second and third-placed teams drawn. The round will consist of a round-robin system with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semifinals. The 102nd and last match of the tournament will be the final which will take place in Milan on October 12.
Italy is the 11th country to host the Women’s World Championships. The nations who have previously hosted the competition are; Japan (four times), the Soviet Union (three times), Brazil (twice), France, Bulgaria, Mexico, Peru, Czechoslovakia, China and Germany. Italy celebrated their only triumph in the tournament at the 2002 edition in Germany with Marco Bonitta at the helm. He has returned as coach once again with the hosts hoping to repeat that success.
Russia are the most successful nation in the history of the Women’s World Championships. As both Russia and the Soviet Union they have won a total of seven titles. The country topped the podium at the last two tournaments in 2006 and 2010, while they took the crown in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1970 and 1990 as the Soviet Union. They are followed by Japan (1962, 1967, 1974) and Cuba (1978, 1994, 1998) with three titles, and China with two titles (1982, 1986). Olympic champions Brazil have never won the tournament. They took home silver in 2006 and 2010 following a historic 10th FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix title earlier this year and are no doubt hungry to end their drought in the competition.
The same is true of the hosts. At the Drawing of Lots in Parma, the Italian National Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago recalled the “beautiful moment” when Italy took the title at the 2002 Women’s World Championship in Berlin. Looking forward to this year’s edition of the tournament Malago said; “I am sure that we are going to remember this edition and that it will be unparalleled.”