Twenty four national teams are on the starting line today with a huge prize in their sights. The 32nd edition of the CEV Women's European Volleyball Championship gets underway for a three-week spectacle to showcase the best that the continent has to present with two berths at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball World Championship up for grabs.
Prestigious title in sight as EuroVolley 2021 takes off
24 teams lined up to contest top honours of the oldest continental championship
Published 07:21, 18 Aug 2021
Defending champions Serbia, riding high on their bronze medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, earlier this month, are aiming at their third title in a row and fourth overall.
Serbia, however, do face Russia in pool play when they host Pool A in Belgrade - the only one of the four pools, across four countries, to include two teams that competed at the Olympics.
Russia (including as USSR) lead the competition's medals table with a record 19 gold medals, 16 more than second-placed Serbia.
Serbia will, of course rely on their big star Tijana Boskovic to keep the points rolling in - the 24-year-old opposite flanked by such stalwarts of the side as middle blocker Milena Rasic and setter Maja Ognjenovic.
But Russia are countering that with their sensational 17-year-old Arina Fedorovtseva who kept all opposition on their toes at both the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the Olympics - and is expected to do so again at the EuroVolley, alongside veteran Nataliya Goncharova.
But that's really only the beginning, as four teams from each pool advance to the knockout stage of the competition, when (for the favourites, at least) we actually get down to the nitty-gritty of the competition.
It all starts on Wednesday, however, in Plovdiv and Cluj Napoca where hosts Bulgaria and Romania respectively host Greece and Turkey in the matches that set the stage for the CEV EuroVolley 2021.
Competition picks up on Thursday across the four host countries, with some huge names to watch out for as teams begin jostling for position to make the Round of 16.
Pool composition of Women's EuroVolley 2021
Bosnia & Herzegovina
The top four teams of each pool advance to the knockout stage, which includes the Round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals, followed by the medals matches.