The 3rd and final round of European qualifying to the 2018 Men’s FIVB World Championships have been moved back a week, the CEV announced on Wednesday. Originally scheduled for July 11th-16th, the event has been moved to July 18th-23rd due to a “clash of one of the qualified teams.”
While the specific conflict isn’t named, the most likely candidates seems to be Belgium. The team is the only one remaining in the 3rd round of qualifiers that is playing in Group 1 (the top tier) of the 2017 World League. If Belgium were to make the final of Group 1, that would mean a match on July 8th in Brazil – and having to return home to Europe for the 3rd round of Worlds qualifying within 2 days.
The 3rd round of qualifiers out of Europe will determine 1 team that advances to next summer’s World Championships – making 10 teams from Europe overall. The other 9 teams that have already qualified are:
- Poland – Defending champions
- Italy – Co-hosts
- Bulgaria – Co-hosts
- France – Round 2 Pool A winner
- Netherlands – Round 2 Pool B winner
- Slovenia – Round 2 Pool C winner
- Russia – Round 2 Pool D winner
- Serbia – Round 2 Pool E winner
- Finland – Round 2 Pool F winner
The first round of qualifying saw 7 of Europe’s “small nations” compete for 4 spots in the 2nd round of qualifying, with no automatic runs through to the World Championship finals. The second round saw 36 teams split into 6 groups of 6 teams each, with the winner of each of those 6 groups advancing automatically to next year’s World Championship final. The runners-up in each group of the 2nd round of qualifying move on to the third round, where they’re placed in one 6-team Pool G. They’ll play a round-robin there, and the team that emerges on top of the table earns the last European spot for the World Championships.
The host site of the 3rd round has not yet been announced. The 6 teams playing are: