A total of 23 nations will open the Women’s Softball European Championship on Sunday June 30. They all have a common goal in mind: Finish in the top 6 of the tournament and advance to the Softball Qualifier Europe/Africa, also known as the start of the ‘Road to Tokyo, a qualifier event for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
The Softball Qualifier Event is slated to be played in Utrecht, the Netherlands, from 23-27 July. The top six European nations will play Botswana and South Africa (African champion and runner up respectively), for one berth in the Olympic Games.
The European Championship will be played in four cities: Ostrava, Frydek Mistek (Czech Republic) and Rybnik, Zory (Poland). The teams have been allocated into four groups with Groups A, B and C housing six teams, and Group D five teams.
World No. 15 Czech Republic, No. 26 France, No. 41 Sweden, No. 47 Belgium, No. 54 Slovakia and No. 61 Lithuania.
No. 9 Italy, No. 24 Austria, No. 35 Spain, No. 36 Israel, No. 45 Ukraine and No. 53 Turkey.
No. 10 (and defending champions) the Netherlands, No. 22 Ireland, No. 32 Russia, No. 44 Poland, No. 56 Denmark and No. 59 Hungary.
No. 12 Great Britain, No. 21 Greece, No. 31 Switzerland, No. 40 Germany and No. 52 Croatia.
The first round will take place from Sunday 30 June to Tuesday 2 July, with the top two nations of each group advancing to the next stage. These eight teams will be split into two four-team groups, with the top three of each pool advancing to Utrecht and the final round of the European Championship.
The final of the European Championship will be played in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Saturday 6 July, at 18:00 local time.
You can follow the event here.