Lausanne, July 20, 2009 – Eight teams that will represent Europe at the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championhip in Japan next fall were decided this weekend in four third-round tournaments.
The winners and second-place finishers from Pools H, I, J and K played from July 17-19 booked their tickets to Japan. Italy, Serbia, Turkey and Germany topped their respective groups, with the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland and the Netherlands finishing as runners-up.
The European reps joined Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the United States, Kenya, defending champions Russia and hosts Japan as teams that have so far secured berths in the Final Round next year.
Italy went undefeated in topping Pool H, although they were pushed to five sets (22-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 15-10) in their final match against a competitive Bulgaria in Conegliano, Italy on Sunday. The Czech Republic finished second in the group with a 2-1 record, beating Belarus 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22) on Sunday to book their ticket to Japan.
Serbia also went undefeated, clinching Pool I by defeating Croatia in their final match after both teams had already qualified for Japan by winning their first two matches against Romania and Spain. Serbia upended Croatia 3-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19) in Subotica, Serbia on Sunday.
Turkey brushed aside all comers in Pool J, dropping only a single set en route to a 3-0 record. Poland finished second, their only defeat being to Turkey on Sunday in Rzeszow, Poland. More than 4,000 spectators watched as the hosts fell 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 28-26).
In Pool K, a fast and eager Germany confused the Dutch defence time and again on the final day of competition for an 0-3 (23-25, 20-25, 18-25) win in Almere, Netherlands. The victory gave Germany an undefeated record and first place in the Pool, while the Dutch had to settle for second at 2-1.
The next third-round tournament is scheduled for July 22-24 in Batna, Algeria, where South Africa, Algeria, Mauritius and Egypt will fight for the second and final African spot in the Final Round.
Teams qualified for the 2010 FIVB World Championships:
photo Getty Images