2018 Montreux Volley Masters
The six-day friendly tournament will see five teams in among the top 15 of the FIVB World Rankings competing for its golden crown. The teams, split out in two pools, will play a single round robin qualification stage followed by the elimination phase. Here are the participating teams and their world rankings:
- Pool A: China (1), Italy (7), Turkey (12), Switzerland (45)
- Pool B: Brazil (4), Russia (5), Cameroon (18), Poland (22)
Defending champions Brazil will have at its disposal Fernanda Garay for the first time since the 2016 Olympic Games. However, with Natalia Zilio and Thaisa Daher still far away from their best playing shape, Brazil will have a hard time contending against China and Turkey once pool play is done.
China will participate in the tournament for the 26th time in its 33 year history, having not missed a single Masters since 1996. Currently ranked #1 in the world, the team will try to repeat its 2016 title. If the recent Asian Games are a symptom of what is to come for the Chinese team, fans should expect nothing short of domination by Ting Zhu and Ding Xia.
The mighty overachievers of the international season so far, Turkey did surprisingly well in the VNL, finishing with a silver medal, and has recently won the Gloria Cup friendly. After sitting out from the Masters last year, the team has a shot at repeating its 2015 gold medal.
Currently ranked #5 in the world, Russia is back to the tournament after 3 years. However, much has changed since then, with the team sporting a new head coach every other week and under performing greatly in its last couple of tournaments. The fact that it will not have Tatyana Kosheleva, out with an injury, doesn’t help either.
Currently ranked 7th in the world, Italy’s situation is much like that of Russia. It will take part in the tournament for the first time in three years and is coming out of very underwhelming international performances. With a roster full of 20 yeaer olds, fans shouldn’t expect much to change.
The Cameroonian team is this year’s feel good story. Ranked 18th in the world, it will be the first African team to feature in the history of the competition. The 2017 African Champions will now have a chance to test their talents against the world’s best teams.
Always the hosts, and always the underdogs, that is Switzerland’s role in the competition. The fact that it is in the same Pool as China and Turkey means that the team will function more like a sparring partner than anything.
Rising stars Malwina Szmarzek and Agnieszka Kąkolewska will surely put on a show, but the absence of Joanna Wolosz, who chose to sit out of the tournament to rest for the upcoming Italian domestic season, means that the team will merely play a supporting role in the competition.