FIVB Volleyball World Cup
Logo FIVB Volleyball World Cup
|Inaugural season||M: 1965
|No. of teams||12|
|Countries||FIVB member nations|
|Most recent champion(s)||M: Russia (6th title)
W: Italy (2nd title)
|Most titles||M: Russia (6 titles)
W: Cuba (4 titles)
The FIVB Volleyball World Cup is a men's and women's volleyball competition. Created in 1965 (men) and 1973 (women), it is an international qualification event for the Olympic Games. It is not to be confused with the World Championship or the World League/World Grand Prix.
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 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 remains up to now (2011).
Former Soviet Union and Brazil (2007) managed to win the Men's World Cup more than once. The Soviets took the gold at the opening edition of the tournament, in 1965. Four years later, the winner was also a socialist nation, East Germany. Brazil's team won consecutively 2003 and 2007.
Scheduled for Uruguay, the men's events of the 1973 edition were cancelled. In 1977, competition was resumed in Japan, and the USSR came back for two wins in a row. In 1985, they were once again runner-ups, but lost the decisive match to USA in five sets. In 1989, Cuba surprised the world and beat a rising Italy to take the gold.
With the competition now set as a qualifying event for the Olympic Games, Soviet Union, led by Dmitri Fomin won the title in 1991, at the brink of dissolution. The Italians, who hadn't participated in this edition, finally conquered their gold medal in 1995.
In 2011, the world champion Russia regained the title by defeating Poland.
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.
Finally 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.
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 is always pre-qualified as host nation.
- Five continental champions are qualified plus the best four continental vice-champions according to the FIVB ranking.
- The remaining two teams participate through wild cards granted by the FIVB.
- Since the 1999 edition, only teams not yet qualified for the following Olympic Games can compete in the World Cup.
- 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.
- Top three 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.
|10||Czech Republic #||0||0||2||2|
- Volleyball at the Summer Olympics
- FIVB Volleyball World Championship
- FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup
- FIVB Volleyball World League
- FIVB World Grand Prix
- List of indoor volleyball World Champions