The draw for the men’s tournament that will qualify teams through to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship have been announced. 36 teams, divided evenly into 6 groups of 6, will vie to compete for 7 total spots still available to Europe for the tournament.
Italy and Bulgaria, as World Championship co-hosts, are both already qualified. Poland, as the defending tournament champions, are also already qualified. The result is that each group winner of the European qualifying will earn a spot automatically at the World Championships, while the 6 group runners-up will go into a Group G that fight for the 7th and final European spot.
Each 6-team group will play a mini tournament from May 23rd-28th, 2017. Every team plays every other team in the group once, and the team that emerges with the best overall record will advance.
The runners-up go to a final qualifier from August 15th-20th.
- Pool A: France , Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Iceland
- Group B: Netherlands , Slovakia, Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Moldova
- Group C: Slovenia , Belgium, Portugal, Latvia, Israel, Georgia
- Pool D: Estonia , Russia, Montenegro, Romania, Hungary, Kosovo
- Group E: Croatia , Serbia, Belarus, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway
- Pool F: Czech Republic , Finland, Spain, Sweden, Cyprus, Northern Ireland
Note: host team is bolded.
Group A, hosted by France, will be the toughest group of the qualifying. It includes World #9 France and World #11 Germany – 2 of the 3 best teams in Europe who are not already qualified for the World Championships. With World #24 Turkey and World #33 Ukraine also in the group, neither of the favored French or German teams will have an easy path to the 2018 Championships.
Europe had 2 of the 3 medal-winning teams (and 4 of the top 5 teams) at the 2014 World Championships, with Poland taking gold at home, Germany earning bronze, France placing 4th, and Russia 5th; but came away with just one medal from the Rio Olympics – a silver from Italy.
Aside from the 3 pre-qualified European sides, Brazil is the only other team to qualify so far as the 2015 CSV Champions. Africa gets 3 spots, Asia gets 4, North America gets 5, and South America still has 1 slot available.