Great Britain and Australia will have the honour of opening the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup following the confirmation of the game schedule for the Group Stage, set to be held in Fingal-Dublin, Ireland (Group A), Valencia, Spain (Group B), and Castions di Strada and Buttrio, Italy (Group C), in July.
World No. 16 Great Britain will take on Australia, ranked ninth in the world, in the tournament opener in Group A at 11:00 (local time) on 11 July in Balbriggan, County Dublin in Ireland. Australia beat Great Britain 11-0 when they played in the last World Cup in 2018 and enter the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup having finished fourth in The World Games, fifth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and fourth at the 2018 World Cup.
World champions and world No. 1 USA will feature in the second game, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists taking on world No. 3 Chinese Taipei before hosts Ireland (No. 17) play Botswana (No. 43) at 18:30.
Group A will play the Opening Round from 11-14 July, with the Play-Offs on 15 July.
Group B will be played in Valencia, Spain, with No. 4 Puerto Rico, No. 10 Netherlands, No. 11 China, No. 12 Spain, No. 28 Cuba and No. 38 South Africa battling for the two spots in the Finals. Group B Opening Round will be staged from 18-21 July, with the Play-Offs on 22 July.
Meanwhile, Castions di Strada and Buttrio, Italy, will host No. 2 Japan, No. 5 Canada, No. 8 Italy, No. 22 Venezuela, No. 26 Philippines and No. 28 New Zealand in Group C. The Opening Round, with three top-10 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic teams – Japan (gold medallists), Canada (bronze) and Italy – will take place from 22-25 July, with the Play-Offs on 26 July.
The XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup is the first tournament to be staged under the new two-stage system. A total of 18 teams have been split into three groups, with the the top two teams in each group’s final standings advancing to the Finals, scheduled for 2024 in Italy.
A total of 57 games will be played across the Group Stage. Each group will play a four-day, 15-game round robin with the top four teams advancing to the Play-Offs, with the top two sides will play each other with a ticket to the Finals at stake. The loser of the first play-off game will then play against the third v fourth winner for the second spot in the Finals.
Exact dates and schedule for the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Finals 2024 will be announced at a later stage.