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The World Baseball Softball Confederation revealed the groups and schedule for the XVI WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018XVI WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018, which will be staged in Chiba, Japan, from August 2-12.

The softball global flagship competition will feature 73 games across 10 days of competition.

The 30,000-seat Chiba Marine Stadium, home of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) club Chiba Lotte Marines, will host the playoffs and finals, while NASPA Stadium, Akitsu Stadium and ZETT A Ball Park will host the preliminary and consolation rounds.

The top nation in Chiba will claim the first of five available softball spots for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where Softball Japan is automatically qualified.

“The Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba will be an exciting and challenging 73-game top-tier global competition,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “The stakes will be extremely high with the tournament awarding one nation a ticket to be a part softball’s historic Olympic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games — this is where softball’s Road to Tokyo 2020 begins.”

The 16 participating nations — representing the five Olympic continents — have been drawn into two groups.

Group A: No. 1 United States (defending WBSC Women’s Softball World Champions), No. 5 Chinese Taipei, No. 6 Puerto Rico, No. 7 Mexico, No. 8 Netherlands, No. 11 New Zealand, No. 15 Philippines and No. 35 South Africa.

Group B: No. 2 Japan, No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Australia, No. 9 Italy, No. 12 China, No. 14 Great Britain, No. 17 Venezuela and No. 33 Botswana.

Following the Opening Ceremony on August 2 at 18:30 JT, Japan and Italy will officially open the tournament.

The top four finishers from each group will advance to the double page playoff round. Nations not advancing will compete in the placement round.

The World Championship Finale will take centre stage on August 12 at 7:00 pm JT, following the bronze medal match at 2:00 pm JT.

Japanese convenience store giant LawsonLawson has been named the official ticketing site of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup 2018 Chiba. Ticket sales within Japan launched today, while global sales will be begin on Saturday, 19 May.

To view the full schedule of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018, visit http://www.wbsc.org/tournaments/2018-womens-softball-world-championship/schedule-and-resultshttp://www.wbsc.org/tournaments/2018-womens-softball-world-championship/schedule-and-results.

-- Courtesy of WBSC

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