Belgium and Bulgaria to open women’s action, Slovenia and Tunisia to get men’s programme underway

The match schedule for the six pools of the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic volleyball qualifiers has been released. Belgium and Bulgaria will get the women’s competition underway with a Pool B match in Tokyo on September 16 at 10:00 local time (01:00 UTC). Exactly two weeks later, on September 30, at the same time and at the same venue, Slovenia and Tunisia will be the first men’s teams to get into action.

Reigning world champions Serbia will open women’s Pool B in China with a game against Mexico on September 16 at 10:00 local time (02:00 UTC). They will also close the tournament with what is likely to be the most interesting clash in this pool, against hosts China on September 24 at 19:30 local time (11:30 UTC). Canada, Czechia, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands and Ukraine are the other five teams to compete for the two Olympic tickets at this tournament.

Women’s Pool A schedule in China

In addition to Belgium and Bulgaria, Pool B to be played in the Japanese capital also features the teams of Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Türkiye and hosts Japan. The most interesting duels of the tournament, between the three favourites for the Paris 2024 berths, will take place on the last three days of the event. Brazil will take on Türkiye on September 22, Türkiye will take on Japan on September 23, and Japan will take on Brazil on September 24.

Women’s Pool B schedule in Japan

Defending Olympic champions USA are set to play in the first Pool C match in Poland. They will face Colombia on September 16 at 11:30 local time (09:30 UTC). Their game against 2022 Volleyball Nations League champions Italy is on September 22, while Italy and hosts Poland will lock horns in the closing match of the tournament on September 24 at 20:30 local time (18:30 UTC). The other four teams in that pool are Germany, Korea, Slovenia and Thailand.

Women’s Pool C schedule in Poland

The Brazilian men’s national team will be in action at home again during the Road to Paris qualifiers

Rio de Janeiro will welcome the men’s Pool A tournament and hosts Brazil will get the race going with a game against Qatar on September 30 at 10:00 local time (13:00 UTC). Their big clash with reigning world champions Italy will be at the same starting time on October 8. The national teams of Cuba, Czechia, Germany, Iran and Ukraine will also travel to Rio to compete in that pool.

Men’s Pool A schedule in Brazil

The men’s Pool B in Tokyo seems to be the most unpredictable of the six, with at least half of the eight teams to be considered equally favourite for the Olympic tickets. The head-to-head battles between them will start on October 6, with the United States facing Slovenia and hosts Japan taking on Serbia. On the following day, USA will lock horns with Serbia and Japan will entertain Slovenia. In the last two matches of the pool’s programme on October 8, Slovenia will battle against Serbia and Japan will close the tournament with a duel against USA. Of course, the other four teams in the pool – Egypt, Finland, Tunisia and Türkiye – will do their best to upset the favourites and stay in contention.

Men’s Pool B schedule in Japan

While 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship runners-up Poland might be the big favourites to win Pool C in China, it is hard to zoom in on who the other main candidate for an Olympic spot might be as all seven of the other teams in the pool – Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and hosts China – have reasonably even chances. Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Argentina will open the tournament with a game against Mexico on September 30 at 10:00 local time (02:00 UTC). In a match that could be quite a challenge for both sides, the South Americans will meet Poland on October 6, while China will challenge the mighty Europeans in the closing match of the tournament on October 8.

Men’s Pool C schedule in China

Each of the six pools will be played in a single round-robin format with the pool winners and the pool runners-up qualifying for Paris 2024.


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