2018 Women’s World Champs In Depth Pool Analysis

  0 Jeremy Brahm | December 22nd, 2017 | International Volleyball, News

With the draw for the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship completed on December 7th, we at Volleymob decided to take an in depth look at each pool by looking at the 4 years of international matches (Continental Championships, Grand Champions Cup, World League, World Cup, Olympics and 2014 World Championship) between each of the teams in the pools. Some teams have not met each other, while others have played quite often in the last 4 years. While the players may have changed over that time, it still gives a good view of what to possibly expect in September and October 2018.

We will start will Pool A, to be played in Yokohama.

Courtesy Volleymob & Jeremy Brahm

In Pool A, over the last 4 years, the Japanese women have the best record against their opponents at 7-0. Japan has defeated the Netherlands twice in the two matches that the teams have played against each other, the 2016 World Olympic Qualifying tournament and 2017 World Grand Prix. They will be Japan’s biggest challenge in winning the pool. The Netherlands are 6-1 against the rest of the opponents in the pool. They have split matches with Germany in 2016 the World Grand Prix and 2016 European Olympic Qualifying. I feel that at worst the Netherlands would finish second in the pool. Germany is a combined 1-3 against Japan and the Netherlands. They have defeated Argentina in their only match against them in the 2014 World Championships. Argentina’s only win against their opponents was against Cameroon in 5 sets at the 2016 Olympics in pool play. Cameroon and Mexico were are both winless against their pool opponents.

Expected Finish

  1. Japan, 2. Netherlands, 3. Germany, 4. Argentina, 5. Cameroon, 6. Mexico

Next is Pool B, to be played Sapporo. I feel that this is the “Group of Death,” with China, Italy, Turkey and Bulgaria in it.

Courtesy Volleymob & Jeremy Brahm

Bulgaria has the best record in matches against its opponents in the pool at 5-3. However, Bulgaria has not faced China or Italy over the last four years and therefore the data skews their record. China has a record of 9-5 against their opponents, but 10 of those matches have been against Italy. In those ten matches Italy and China have split them 5-5. Against Turkey and Cuba, China is a perfect 4-0. I expect China to win the pool. Italy have only faced Turkey as their other opponent in the pool over the last four years. Italy have dominated Turkey 5-1. If Italy holds form, they should finish second in the pool. Canada has a record of 3-5, but only have a winning record against Cuba at 2-1. Turkey is a surprise to me with a 3-9 record, and their only winning record is against Canada who they faced once at the 2014 World Championships. Cuba’s only win is against Canada in the 2014 World Grand Prix.

Expected Finish

  1. China, 2. Italy, 3. Bulgaria, 4. Turkey, 5. Canada, 6. Cuba

Next is Pool C, to be played Kobe.

Courtesy Volleymob & Jeremy Brahm

The USA should be expected to win this pool with a record over the last four years against their pool opponents of 15-2. Ten of those matches have been against Russia and the USA have dominated them 8-2. The two losses by the USA were in the 2014 World Grand Prix and the 2015 World Cup. The USA has also swept South Korea and Thailand with a combined record of 7-0.  Russia follows with a 9-9 record. After taking out the USA results, Russia is 7-1 against South Korea and Thailand. South Korea are 3-2 versus Thailand over the last four years. Azerbaijan and Trinidad and Tobago have not faced any of their opponents over the last four years. Azerbaijan will look to use Paulina Rahimova as their offensive locomotive and if she gets hot, Azerbaijan can pull an upset or two.

Expected Finish

  1. USA, 2. Russia, 3. South Korea, 4. Azerbaijan, 5. Thailand, 6. Trinidad and Tobago

Lastly we will look at Pool D, to be played in Hamamatsu.

Courtesy Volleymob & Jeremy Brahm

Brazil is 9-2 against their opponents, and their only losses are to Serbia in the 2016 and 2017 World Grand Prix. I expect them to win the pool. Serbia follow at 8-5, but all of their losses are to Brazil. I do no see Serbia tripping up to the teams below them. The Dominican Republic are 7-6 against their opponents. Against Brazil and Serbia, they are 0-6, but against the others 7-0. Should be a good chance for them to finish 3rd. Puerto Rico has only defeated Kenya (2-0) and have not faced Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan have not faced Kenya, but are winless against the Brazil, Serbia and Dominican Republic. Kenya is winless at 0-5. Puerto Rico will probably finish 4th and the winner of Kazakhstan vs. Kenya will be 5th.

Expected Finish

  1. Brazil, 2. Serbia, 3. Dominican Republic, 4. Puerto Rico, 5. Kazakhstan, 6. Kenya

The top four teams from each pool in the first round reach the two second round pools, and only the top three teams in each second round pool will reach the third round.With the second round pools, Pool E using the first round pools of A and D, while Pool F using first round pools B and C, a loss in the first round may make it difficult for teams to advance to the third round. If the hosts Japan lose in the first round, the may have to win one or two matches against Brazil and Serbia. Japan did beat Brazil twice this year and Serbia once, so it is possible, but you might have to face them on back-to-back days. The same could be said for Italy or Russia if they finish second in their pool. Still, the matches need to be played and we cannot wait until next September.

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