Belgium and Bulgaria are opening a program for women, Slovenia and Tunisia are launching a program for men
The schedule of matches of the six FIVB Road to Paris qualification groups for the volleyball Olympic Games has been published. Belgium and Bulgaria will kick off their women’s competition with a Group 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 in the same place, Slovenia and Tunisia will be the first men’s teams to take action.
Reigning world champions Serbia will open China’s Women’s Group B with a match against Mexico on September 16 at 10:00 local time (02:00 UTC). They will also end the tournament with arguably the most interesting clash of the group against hosts China on September 24 at 19:30 local time (11:30 UTC). Canada, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands and Ukraine are the next five teams that are competing for two Olympic tickets to this tournament.
Women’s Swimming Schedule in China https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/fivb-road-to-paris-volleyball-qualifier/2023/women/pool-a-china/schedule/
In addition to Belgium and Bulgaria, Group B, which will be played in the capital of Japan, will also include teams from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Türkiye and the hosts from Japan. The most interesting matches of the tournament, between the three favorites for places in Paris 2024, will be played in the last three days of the event. Brazil will face Turkey on September 22, Türkiye vs Japan on September 23 and Japan vs Brazil on September 24.
The defending Olympic champions USA will play in the first match of Group C in Poland. They will face Colombia on September 16 at 11:30 local time (09:30 UTC). Their match against the 2022 Volleyball Nations League champions Italy will take place on September 22, while Italy and hosts Poland face off in the tournament’s closing match on September 24 at 20:30 local time (18:30 UTC). The other four teams in this pool are Germany, Korea, Slovenia and Thailand.
Schedule of women’s pool C in Poland https://pl.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/fivb-road-to-paris-volleyball-qualifier/2023/women/pool-c-poland/schedule/
The Brazil men’s national team will play at home again in the Road to Paris qualifiers
Rio de Janeiro will welcome the men’s tournament in Group A, while hosts Brazil will start the race with a match against Qatar on September 30 at 10:00 local time (13:00 UTC). Their big clash with reigning world champions Italy will start at the same time on October 8. Cuba, Czech Republic, Germany, Iran and Ukraine will also travel to Rio to compete in this group.
Tokyo men’s Group B appears to be the most unpredictable of the six, with at least half of the eight teams considered to be equally favorites to win Olympic tickets. Head-to-head matches between the two will start on October 6. The United States will face Slovenia, while hosts Japan will face Serbia. The next day, the US will play Serbia and Japan will play Slovenia. In the last two matches of the pool program on October 8, Slovenia will take on Serbia, while Japan will close the tournament with a matchup against the USA. Of course, the other four teams in the pool – Egypt, Finland, Tunisia and Türkiye – will do everything in their power to upset the favorites and stay competitive.
While 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup runners-up Poland could be big favorites to win Group C in China, it’s hard to get any closer to who could be the other main contender for an Olympic spot as all seven other teams in the pool – Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and hosts China have a fairly even playing field. Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medalists Argentina will open the tournament with a match against Mexico on September 30 at 10:00 local time (02:00 UTC). In what could be quite a challenge for both sides, the South Americans will take on Poland on October 6, and China will take on the mighty Europeans in the tournament’s closing match on October 8.
Each of the six pools will be played in a round-robin format, with the pool winners and pool runners-up qualifying for Paris 2024.
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