Associate Director, Communications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 5, 2011) – The FIVB Women’s World Cup 12-team tournament field was finalized on Wednesday as the FIVB announced the two wild card teams that will compete in the event Nov. 4-18 in Japan. The FIVB World Cup is the first 2012 Olympic Games volleyball qualification tournament with the top three teams earning tickets to London.
The U.S. Women’s National Team was one of five continental championship winners to earn spots into the FIVB World Cup. The Americans won the gold medal at the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship held Sept. 12-17 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Team USA won all five of its matches in the tournament without dropping a set, including sweeps over Cuba in the semifinals and Dominican Republic in the gold-medal match.
Team USA will be making its eighth appearance in the FIVB World Cup, missing just the 1985 and 1989 World Cups. The Americans have finished with the bronze medal in each of the past two FIVB World Cup competitions, thus earning spots into the next year’s Olympic Games on the first attempt without going through the Continental Olympic qualification or World Olympic qualification tournaments. For 2011, duplicating the podium finishes at the 2003 and 2007 FIVB World Cups remains the number-one focus while utilizing each and every match to improve overall as the long-term goal.
Other continental champions advancing to the FIVB World Cup were Brazil (South American Championship winner), China (Asia Championship winner), Serbia (European Championship winner) and Kenya (African Championship winner). In addition to five continental champions, the top four continental vice-champions earn spots into the FIVB World Cup based on the world ranking as of Jan. 15, 2011. The vice champions advancing to the World Cup are Germany (European runner-up), Dominican Republic (NORCECA runner-up), Algeria (African runner-up) and Korea (Asia bronze medalist, replacing Japan).
As host of the FIVB World Cup, Japan received an automatic bid into the event although finishing second in the Asia Championship. Korea moved into the Asia Championship slot into the World Cup advancement in place of Japan.
The wild card teams selected for the World Cup are Argentina and Italy.
The drawing of lots for the men’s and women’s FIVB World Cup took place in Tokyo on Oct. 5. The 12 teams were split into two pools of six, with each competing against each other in the first and second rounds before facing off against teams in the opposite group in the third and fourth rounds.
The U.S. Women will open play on Nov. 4 against Brazil in Group B. Also playing in Group B will be Serbia, Korea, Germany and Kenya. Group A will include Argentina, Italy, Japan, China, Algeria and Dominican Republic
The FIVB Women’s World Cup will be its 11th edition after having been established in 1965. The event became a qualifying event for the Olympic Games in 1991 ahead of the Barcelona Games. Since then the World Cup has been traditionally the first Olympic Games qualifying event for volleyball. Japan has proudly hosted the competition since 1977.
Team USA is currently 26-7 in 2011 with almost all competition coming in four tournaments. U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon used a mix of veterans and young players at the first two tournaments of the season resulting in a fourth-place finish at the Montreux Volley Masters and the bronze medal at the Pan American Cup. Based on its finish at the Pan American Cup, the U.S. qualified for the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix next year.
In August 2011, the U.S. captured its second consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix title culminating with a win over top-ranked Brazil in three sets. During the tournament, the Americans won 12 of 14 matches with losses to Brazil in the Final Round pool play and to improving Serbia. Like its second match against Brazil, Team USA came back to defeat Serbia in the World Grand Prix semifinals to advance to the gold-medal match. While Destinee Hooker earned the tournament’s most valuable player, the U.S. squad had different players step up in different matches making the championship a true team effort.
With little time to celebrate the World Grand Prix victory, the U.S. returned to the gym in preparation for the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship that started about two weeks after leaving the World Grand Prix. Team USA swept through the competition at the NORCECA Championship without dropping a set in the tournament. The Americans defeated Canada and Trinidad & Tobago in pool play, followed by victories over Mexico in the quarterfinals, Cuba in the semifinals and Dominican Republic in the championship match to earn a spot in the FIVB World Cup. Lindsey Berg was tabbed as the Best Setter of the tournament, while Logan Tom earned Best Server. Further, McCutcheon received the Eugenio George Award as the top coach in the tournament.
Prior to the FIVB World Cup, a young squad of athletes will represent the U.S. at the Pan American Games held Oct. 15-20 in Guadalajara, Mexico, while other members of the team remain in Anaheim, Calif., to train for the most important tournament of 2011.
The U.S. looks to continue its path of improvement at the 2011 FIVB World Cup and duplicate its accomplishment from the last edition held in 2007 – a podium finish to earn a berth into the Olympic Games. During the 2007 FIVB World Cup, the U.S. won its first eight matches of the tournament before a loss to Serbia. The Americans bounced back to defeat host Japan on the second to last day to guarantee a medal and spot into the 2008 Olympic Games. On the final day, Team USA lost to 2007 FIVB World Cup gold-medalist Italy and finished with the bronze medal.
FIVB Women’s World Cup Field
Team (Qualification Method, Jan. 15 World Ranking, Current World Ranking)
Brazil (South American Champions, 1, 1)
USA (NORCECA Champions, 2, 2)
Japan (Hosts, 3, 4)
Serbia (European Champions, 9, 5)
China (Asia Champions, 6, 6)
Germany (European runner-up, 10, 9)
Korea (Asian bronze medalist^, 18, 13)
Dominican Republic (NORCECA runner-up, 13, 14)
Kenya (African Champions, 23, 15)
Algeria (African Champions, 15, 17)
Italy (Wild Card, 4, 7)
Argentina (Wild Card, 25, 20)
^ As Japan finished as runner-up of the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship, Korea qualified as the next best team at the tournament
Women’s World Cup Schedule
|1st Round||Hiroshima (A)||Nagano (B)|
|2nd Round||Hiroshima (A)||Toyama (B)|
|3rd Round||Sapporo (A)||Okayama (B)|
|4th Round||Tokyo (A)||Tokyo (B)|