Heading into the final day of opening-round action at the WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship we’re taking a look at the teams that have clinched a playoff spot.
Only the top 4 teams from each pool will advance. By end of play on Wednesday, the field of 8 was nearly set. At the top of their respective pools, Japan and Canada sit undefeated at 6-0.
The #1 A-Pool seed is Japan, and Argentina is in 2nd. The surprise of the tournament to-date is that #1 World ranked, and defending champions, New Zealand are currently in 3rd in the A-pool at 4-2.
That leaves the #4 spot open. At the moment it is Cuba’s. They enter the day with a 3-3 record. Even if Mexico or Botswana, who are both 2-4 coming into the day, win each has been defeated by the North Americans. The Czech Republic will also enter the day 2-4 however and they have yet to see Cuba across the plate. The two teams will be the final game of the opening round. If the Czech’s win, that will force a tie for the last spot.
The other A-Pool game to watch Thursday will be New Zealand v. Argentina. Heading into competition, Argentina is 5-1 and the Kiwis are 4-2. A win by the Black Sox ties them at 2nd.
Over in the B-pool, the placements could shuffle as well but the pool is set. In current order, Canada, Australia, the USA and Venezuela will advance.
The lead game at Svoboda Park will be the B-Pool game to watch as north meets south in the matchup of the Americas. The Venezuelans and Americans will be playing for sole possession of 3rd so pride is on the line. If Canada looses and Australia wins their records will match but the Canucks will remain alone on top as they beat Australia on day four of the competition.