FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup
The FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup is an international volleyball competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), the sport's global governing body. Initially the tournament was played in the year following the Olympic Games, but since 1991 the World Cup has been awarded in the year preceding the Olympic Games. The current champion is China, which won its fifth title at the 2019 tournament.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup
|No. of teams||12|
|China (5th title)|
|Most titles||China (5 titles)|
|Official website||FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup|
The current format of the competition involves 12 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation Japan, competing in the tournament phase for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about two weeks. The World Cup (with exception of the 2019 edition) acts as the first qualification event for the following year's Olympic Games with the top two teams qualifying.
The 13 World Cup tournaments have been won by five different national teams. China have won five times. The other World Cup winners are Cuba, with four titles; Italy, with two titles; and Japan and Russia (as Soviet Union), with one title each.
This tournament should not be confused with the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship.
The World Cup was created in 1965 with the purpose of partially filling the gap between the two most important volleyball tournaments, the Olympic Games and the World Championship, which take place in alternating 4-year cycles. The establishment of a third international competition would leave only one in every four years with no major events. The World Cup has a smaller entry than the World Championship, with at most 12 teams.
The World Cup was to be held in the year following the Olympic Games. The first two tournaments were for men's volleyball only; in 1973, a women's tournament was also introduced. Originally, each tournament had a different host, but in 1977 the competition was transferred to Japan on a permanent basis.
In the 1990s, the installment of annual international events such as the World League and the Grand Prix made the original motivations for the creation of the World Cup obsolete. Instead of letting a consolidated event disappear for lack of interest, the FIVB decided to change its format in 1991: it would be held in the year preceding, and not following, the Olympic Games; and it would be considered a first international Olympic qualification tournament, granting the winner a direct berth in the games.
This move saved the competition. The possibility of securing an early berth for the Olympic Games, thus avoiding extraneous and in some cases tight continental qualification procedures, became a consistent motivation for the national federations to participate in the World Cup. In 1995, the number of Olympic spots granted at the competition was increased to three, as it remained until 2011. In 2015 the number of spots was only two again.
The first edition of the tournament was won by the Soviet Union. Japan, the runner-up of 1973, took the gold in 1977. With the help of superstar player Lang Ping, China won the following two editions, in 1981 and 1985.
Then Cuba stepped forward to begin its amazing World Cup career, winning its first title in 1989. With the tournament now as an Olympic qualifier, there followed three more consecutive victories, in 1991, 1995 and 1999.
China came back in 2003 with a remarkably offensive team to win its third title.
Italy won the 2007 edition with an outstanding record of eleven wins in eleven games and only two sets left to the opponents (both lost against Serbia). Italy took a second win in a row in 2011, getting the better hand on United States and China. In 2015, China regained the title and then successfully defended it in 2019.
The World Cup is the most stable from all competition formulas employed by the FIVB. The following rules apply:
- The competition takes place in Japan.
- Twelve teams participate in each event: ten qualified, two per invitation.
- Japan are always pre-qualified as host nation.
- The winners of the FIVB World Championship in the previous year are automatically granted a spot.
- The champion and runner-up of each continental tournament of that year are granted two spots.
- Since the 1999 edition, only teams not yet qualified for the following Olympic Games can compete in the World Cup; hence hosts of the following year's Olympic Games are not allowed to compete. There was an exception for the 2019 World Cup, as the tournament will be hosted by Japan and the country will host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
- The competition is divided in exactly two phases (called "legs").
- Teams are divided in two pools.
- At the first leg, each team plays one match against all other teams in its pool.
- At the second leg, each team plays one match against all the teams in the other pool.
- Matches take place continuously through two weeks, with one-day breaks every two or three days. Each day, six matches are played.
- Final standings are calculated by usual volleyball criteria: match points, numbers of matches won, sets ratio (the total number of sets won divided by the total number of sets lost), points ratio, direct confrontation.
- Teams are divided in two pools.
- The top two teams in overall standings, regardless of pools, qualify for the following Olympic Games.
- The tournament implements very tight line-up restrictions: only twelve players are allowed, and no replacement is permitted, even in the case of injuries.
|Totals (10 nations)||13||13||13||39|
- 1st – Champions
- 2nd – Runners-up
- 3rd – Third place
- 4th – Fourth place
- – Did not enter / Did not qualify
- – Hosts
- = – More than one team tied for that rank
- Q – Qualified for forthcoming tournament
|Croatia||Part of Yugoslavia||4th||8th||•||•||•||•||•||2|
|Germany||See East Germany
and West Germany
|Russia||Part of Soviet Union||•||2nd||•||•||•||4th||3rd||3|
|Serbia||Part of Yugoslavia||Part of SCG||5th||7th||2nd||9th||4|
- 1973 – Jo Hea-jung (KOR)
- 1977 – Takako Shirai (JPN)
- 1981 – Sun Jinfang (CHN)
- 1985 – Lang Ping (CHN)
- 1989 – Mireya Luis (CUB)
- 1991 – Caren Kemner (USA)
- 1995 – Mireya Luis (CUB)
- 1999 – Taismary Agüero (CUB)
- 2003 – Małgorzata Glinka (POL)
- 2007 – Simona Gioli (ITA)
- 2011 – Carolina Costagrande (ITA)
- 2015 – Zhu Ting (CHN)
- 2019 – Zhu Ting (CHN)