FIVB Announces 2008 World Grand Prix Volleyball Schedule

April 04, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 4, 2008) – The FIVB announced the schedule for its 12-team World Grand Prix Tournament held June 20 to July 13 in various European and Asian countries.

The 2008 edition involves 12 national teams playing a total of 69 matches over four consecutive weekends in 10 cities. The preliminary rounds are set to take place in Kobe, Japan, Ningbo, China and Alassio, Italy, on the first weekend, Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, Wroclaw, Poland, and Hong Kong the second weekend and Bangkok, Thailand, Taipei, Chinese Taipei, and Macau the third weekend.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will open the first weekend of World Grand Prix preliminary action in Group A at the Green Arena in Kobe, Japan. The U.S. faces Turkey on June 20 at 3 p.m. Japan Time, followed by Kazakhstan on June 21 at 3 p.m. Japan Time and host Japan on June 22 at 6 p.m. Japan Time.

Team USA travels to Wroclaw, Poland, the following weekend to play three matches at the HSW Orbita Hall as part of Group E. The U.S. challenges Thailand on June 27 at 8 p.m. Poland Time to start the weekend. The Americans play NORCECA rival Dominican Republic on June 28 at 5:30 p.m. Poland Time before wrapping up the weekend against host Poland at 3 p.m. Poland Time.

The U.S. concludes the preliminary round matches in Group H at Hsinchuang Gym in Taipei, Chinese Taipei. Team USA takes on Poland for the second time in the tournament on July 4 at 3 p.m., followed by a rematch with Turkey on July 5 at 3 p.m. The Americans conclude the preliminary round against Italy, gold medalist at the FIVB World Cup, on July 6 at 5 p.m.

The FIVB World Grand Prix finals, a round-robin format of the top five teams from the preliminary round plus host Japan, will be played July 9-13 at Yokohoma, Japan. The overall ranking in the preliminary rounds is decided by the total number of World Grand Prix Points (GPP) gained by the teams in the preliminary matches. A team will earn two GPPs for a win, one for a loss and none if they forfeit the match.

The FIVB World Grand Prix has the top four teams in the world participating. Brazil, which won the 2007 FIVB World Cup silver medal, leads the FIVB World Ranking, followed by second-ranked Italy and third-ranked Cuba. The U.S. ranks fourth in the world, while 2008 Olympic Games host China ranks sixth. Japan, the 2008 World Grand Prix final round host, is ranked eighth and Poland is slotted in the ninth position. Dominican Republic is ranked 14th in the world, Germany positioned in 15th and Kazakhstan placed in the 16th spot. Rounding out the World Grand Prix field are 18th-ranked Thailand and 22nd-ranked Turkey.

Team USA will face an average world ranking of 13.22 during the three-week preliminary rounds. The Americans will face only one team – Italy – ranked among the top seven teams in the current world ranking during the preliminary rounds.

Brazil is a six-time winner of the event, while Cuba and USA have captured the title twice. China won the event in 2003. Team USA won its two titles in 1995 and 2001. Netherlands, the reigning World Grand Prix champion, did not qualify to defend its title after snapping Brazil’s three-year reign as Grand Prix winners.

The World Grand Prix is the last major international tune up in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. The U.S., which qualified for the Olympics at the 2007 FIVB World Cup, will use the 2008 Pan American Cup (May 30-June 8 in Mexico) and the World Grand Prix to assist in Olympic Games roster selections that are due the first week of July. The Team USA coaching staff will select its 12-player roster at the beginning of July, and the announcement will be made upon confirmation from the USOC.

The U.S. qualified for the 2008 World Grand Prix by finishing as the third-best NORCECA team entered in the 2007 Pan American Cup.

For more on the FIVB World Grand Prix, click here. For additional information on the U.S. Women's National Team, visit the team's home page by clicking here.

FIVB World Ranking of 2008 World Grand Prix Participants
Brazil – 1st
Italy – 2nd
Cuba – 3rd
USA – 4th
China – 6th
Japan – 8th
Poland – 9th
Dominican Republic – 14th
Germany – 15th
Kazakhstan – 16th
Thailand – 18th
Turkey – 22nd

Pool A: Kobe Japan, Green Arena
June 20: Turkey vs. USA, 3 p.m.
June 20: Japan vs. Kazakhstan, 6:30 p.m.
June 21: Kazakhstan vs. USA, 3 p.m.
June 21: Japan vs. Turkey, 6 p.m.
June 22: Kazakhstan vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
June 22: Japan vs. USA, 6 p.m.

Pool B: Ningbo, China, Beilun Sports Centre
June 20: Brazil vs. Thailand, 3 p.m.
June 20: China vs. Germany, 7:30 p.m.
June 21: China vs. Thailand, 3 p.m.
June 21: Germany vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m.
June 22: Germany vs. Thailand, 1:30 p.m.
June 22: China vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.

Pool C: Alassio, Italy, Palavavizza Hall
June 20: Cuba vs. Poland, 5:30 p.m.
June 20: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m.
June 21: Dominican Republic vs. Cuba, 4 p.m.
June 21: Italy vs. Poland, 6:30 p.m.
June 22: Poland vs. Dominican Republic, 4 p.m.
June 22: Italy vs. Cuba, 6:30 p.m.

Pool D: Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, Vinh Phuc Hall
June 27: Brazil vs. Kazakhstan, 2 p.m.
June 27: Turkey vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m.
June 28: Kazakhstan vs. Germany, 2 p.m.
June 28: Brazil vs. Turkey, 4:30 p.m.
June 29: Turkey vs. Kazakhstan, 2 p.m.
June 29: Germany vs. Brazil, 4:30 p.m.

Pool E: Wroclaw, Poland, HSW Orbita Hall
June 27: Poland vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
June 27: Thailand vs. USA, 8 p.m.
June 28: Poland vs. Thailand, 3 p.m.
June 28: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
June 29: Poland vs. USA, 3 p.m.
June 29: Dominican Republic vs. Thailand, 5:30 p.m.

Pool F: Hong Kong, Hong Kong Coliseum
June 27: Italy vs. Japan, 5 p.m.
June 27: China vs. Cuba, 8 p.m.
June 28: Cuba vs. Italy, 1:15 p.m.
June 28: China vs. Japan, 3:45 p.m.
June 29: Japan vs. Cuba, 1:15 p.m.
June 29: China vs. Italy, 3:45 p.m.

Pool G: Bangkok, Thailand, Huamark Stadium
July 4: Thailand vs. Kazakhstan, 2 p.m.
July 4: Cuba vs. Germany, 5 p.m.
July 5: Germany vs. Thailand, 2 p.m.
July 5: Kazakhstan vs. Cuba, 5 p.m.
July 6: Thailand vs. Cuba, 2 p.m.
July 6: Germany vs. Kazakhstan, 5 p.m.

Pool H: Taipei, Chinese Taipei, Hsinchuang Gym
July 4: USA vs. Poland, 3 p.m.
July 4: Italy vs. Turkey, 6:20 p.m.
July 5: USA vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
July 5: Italy vs. Poland, 5 p.m.
July 6: Poland vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
July 6: Italy vs. USA, 5 p.m.

Pool I: Macau, Macau Forum
July 4: Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m.
July 4: China vs. Japan, 9 p.m.
July 5: Brazil vs. Japan, 2 p.m.
July 5: China vs. Dominican Republic, 5 p.m.
July 6: Dominican Republic vs. Japan, 1 p.m.
July 6: China vs. Brazil, 4 p.m.

Final Round: Yokohama, Japan
July 8-13