Groups set for Women’s World Championship

Wed 9 May 2018


The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the groups and schedule for the 16th Women’s Softball World Championship this summer in Chiba, Japan, where the GB Women will join 15 other top softball countries from five continents.

Softball’s global flagship tournament – at least until the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo take place -- will feature 73 games across 10 days of competition from 2-12 August.  The top country at the end of the tournament, apart from Japan which is automatically qualified as host, will claim a place in the Tokyo Olympics.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said, “The Women's Softball World Championship in Chiba will be an exciting and challenging competition.  The stakes will be extremely high, with the tournament awarding one nation a ticket to be part of softball's historic Olympic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games.  This is where softball's Road to Tokyo 2020 begins."

For the Great Britain Women’s Team, who will enter this summer’s tournament with a world ranking of 14, the more likely route to the Tokyo Olympics will be through a Europe/Africa Qualifying Tournament that will take place in September or October 2019, with the top six European teams and the top two African countries competing.

GB will need to qualify for the Olympic Qualifier by finishing in the top six at the European Women’s Championship from 30 June-6 Muly 2019 in Ostrava in the Czech Republic.  GB has never finished lower than fifth in European Championships since 2001.

Other regional qualifying tournaments will take place in 2019 or early 2020 in the Americas and Asia/Oceania.

World Championship groups

The 16 teams at the 2018 Women’s World Championship will be divided into two groups of eight teams for an initial round-robin, with the top four teams from each group going forward to a Championship Double Page Playoff, while the bottom four teams will go to Consolation Playoffs.

GB qualified for its fifth straight World Championship last summer by winning the bronze medal at the 2017 European Championship in Italy, but GB has yet to make the playoff round at the World Championships, and that will be the team’s goal in Japan.

GB has been drawn in Pool B, which is made up of:

Japan
Canada
Australia
Italy
China
Great Britain
Venezuela
Botswana

To make the playoff round, GB will probably need to beat four of these teams in the round-robin.

Pool A consists of:

USA
Chinese Taipei
Puerto Rico
Mexico
The Netherlands
New Zealand
The Philippines
South Africa

The 30,000-seat Chiba Marine Stadium, home of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) club Chiba Lotte Marines, will host the Championship Playoff round and finals, while NASPA Stadium in Narita City, Akitsu Stadium in Narashino City and ZETT A Ball Park in Ichihara City will host the preliminary round-robin and the Consolation Playoff round.

Schedule

Following the Opening Ceremony on 2 August at 18:30 local time, Japan and Italy will  play to officially open the tournament.

GB’s first game will be on Friday 3 August against Canada at ZETT A Ball Park in Ichihara City in the heat of the day at 12.30. 

GB’s games during the rest of the opening round-robin are:

4 August:  GB v China, 12.30 pm, NASPA Stadium, Narita City
5 August:  GB v Japan, 7.00 pm, ZETT A Ball Park in Ichihara City
6 August:  GB v Italy, 3.30 pm, ZETT A Ball Park in Ichihara City
7 August:  GB v Botswana, 10.00 am, NASPA Stadium in Narita City
                  GB v Australia, 6.00 pm, NASPA Stadium in Narita City
8 August:  GB v Venezuela, 12.30 pm, Akitsu Stadium in Narashino City

The next day, 9 August, will be a rest day for all teams, and Championship and Consolation Playoffs will be held from 10-12 August. 

The World Championship Final will take centre stage on 12 August at 7.00 pm, following the bronze medal match at 2.00 pm local time.

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