New Zealand – the world's number one team – have been drawn in Group A for the Men’s Softball World Championship in the Czech Republic this June.
Sixteen teams have been drawn in two groups of eight for the tournament, set to take place between June 13 and 23 in Prague and Brod.
Joining New Zealand in Group A are the hosts, as well as Japan – ranked third in the world – Argentina, Mexico, Botswana, the Philippines and Cuba.
Canada headline Group B, which features Australia, the United States, Venezuela, Denmark, South Africa, the Netherlands and Singapore.
PRESS RELEASE: Groups and Schedule for #WBSCMensSoftball World Championship 2019 in Czech Republic 🇨🇿 !!! 📰 https://t.co/QRcMKAPc7u— WBSC ⚾🥎 (@WBSC) March 27, 2019
La WBSC anuncia grupos y calendario de partidos del Campeonato Mundial de Softbol Masculino 2019 🇨🇿: 📰 https://t.co/cxA5630tNS @czechsoftball pic.twitter.com/YKT3WpmuhB
“Having teams from every continent in each of the two groups is another manifestation of the impact of men’s softball and how WBSC competitions are embraced around the world,” WBSC softball division chairman Tommy Velazpuez said.
“Staging the first World Championship in Europe is another step in the WBSC strategy to expand softball across the planet and strengthen the game as a worldwide sport, both in men's and women’s branches.
The hosts will face New Zealand in the opening match of the Championship, starting a sequence of 72 games across 11 days.
The top four teams from each group will advance to the play-offs, from which the semi-finalists, and eventually the finalists, will be decided.