Lausanne, Switzerland, December 1, 2017 – Poland will begin the defence of their FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship title in the same pool as Bulgaria, one of the two host nations for the 2018 edition of the tournament that is being co-hosted by Italy.
They won the title in front of the home fans in 2014 with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22) victory over Brazil in front of a full house at the Spodek Arena in Katowice.
Next year they will start their quest to defend their title in Pool D against Bulgaria, FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup bronze medallists Iran, Cuba, Finland and Puerto Rico at the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna.
Next year's edition of the FIVB's flagship event for men's national teams will take place in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Black Sea resort Varna and Ruse, while in Italy Rome, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Bari and Turin will host matches throughout the tournament.
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018 - First round draw result:
Pool A (Florence, Italy)
Italy, Argentina, Japan, Belgium, Slovenia, Dominican Republic
Pool B (in Ruse, Bulgaria)
Brazil, Canada, France, Egypt, China, Netherlands
Pool C (in Bari, Italy)
United States, Russia, Serbia, Australia, Tunisia, Cameroon
Pool D (in Varna, Bulgaria)
Bulgaria, Poland, Iran, Cuba, Finland, Puerto Rico
Olympic champions and Grand Champions Cup holders Brazil will also start their campaign in Bulgaria, alongside the River Danube in Ruse. They will face FIVB Volleyball World League holders France, who beat Brazil in the World League Final, Canada, who won bronze in the tournament, Egypt, China and the Netherlands.
“We have a good pool with Brazil and Canada the other seeded teams,” France coach Laurent Tillie said “We know that if we want to be in contention we need the maximum number of points to take with us to the second phase.”
Italy are chasing a first world title since 1998 and the chance to put the disappointment of Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and Grand Champions Cup silver medals behind them.
They have been drawn alongside Argentina, Japan, Belgium, Slovenia and the Dominican Republic in Pool A, which will take place in Florence.
“We have a manageable pool, but there are some tricky teams in it, such as Belgium,” Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini said. “We will have to face some hard teams such as USA, France and Russia, but as we saw in the last European Championship, matches are played on court, not on paper.
“We have a great responsibility to represent Italy at such an important event, but we also take great pride in being called upon to do so.”
Pool C pitches European champions Russia against NORCECA champions USA. They will be joined in Bari, on the heel of Italy’s boot, by 2016 World League victors Serbia, Australia, Tunisia and Cameroon.