After a superb opening to the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup with USA and Australia claiming two Finals 2024 tickets in Fingal-Dublin, Ireland during Group A action this week, all eyes now turn to Group B in Valencia, Spain, which starts on Tuesday.
One of the favourites for the group, the Netherlands, who are ranked 10th in the world and finished eighth at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup 2018, start off the tournament at 11:00 on Tuesday playing Cuba, who, while ranked 28th in the world, are capable are pulling off an upset on their day such is their pedigree in softball.
The second game on Tuesday at 14:00 promises to be a classic with group favourites Puerto Rico – ranked fourth in the world and having won the Central American and Caribbean Games eight days ago, beating Cuba in the final – playing world No. 11 China who are returning to the international stage after a long absence due to the pandemic.
The former softball super power – the only team in this group to have previously stepped on the podium at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup having finished second in 1994 & 1986 and third in 1990 – will be keen to showcase their wares. China won a warm up tournament ahead of Puerto Rico and Cuba earlier this week.
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Hosts Spain, ranked 12th in the world, take on world No. 38 South Africa in the last game on the opening day at 18:00 hoping the home crowd will help them get their campaign off to a successful start with tougher games to come later in the week.
The Spaniards, who have participated only once previously in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup, finishing 20th in 1994, had two warm up games at the Camp Municipal de Valencia against the Netherlands on Friday and yesterday this week, losing both 7-4, 8-2.
Two tickets to the Finals 2024 are up for grabs in Valencia with the third place team in contention for a wild card spot. There are five days of play at the Camp Municipal de Valencia with four days of round-robin pool play before the playoffs on Saturday to determine the ticket winners.