LAUSANNE: The World Baseball Softball Confederation press release announced the game schedule for the new WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup, to be staged from 22nd February to 1st March in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The major young softball players in the world will compete in 50 games over 9 days at the revamped Colquhoun Park in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

In a Europe versus Americas matchup, world No. 11 Denmark and No. 21 Guatemala will officially open the tournament on 22 February, at 11 a.m. local time.

All 12 teams will be in action on opening day, with host New Zealand facing the new leader in the men’s softball world rankings, Japan, following the Opening Ceremony.

With five top-ten teams in the recently updated Men’s Softball World Rankings, Group A features the defending champions and world No. 5 Australia, along with No. 2 Argentina, No. 4 Canada, No. 7 Czech Republic, No. 10 South Africa and No. 17 Singapore.

Group B includes host and world No. 3 New Zealand, No. 1 Japan, No. 6 USA (wild card), No. 8 Mexico, No. 11 Denmark and No. 21 Guatemala.

According to the mechanism, following a five-day Opening Round, the top three squads from each group will advance to the Super Round. The two teams with the best record after the Super Round will play in the World Championship Game on 1st March, while the third- and fourth-place teams will play for the bronze medal.

Tickets, including daily passes, for the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup can be purchased through international online ticketing service, Ticket Rocket.

The official website of the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup has been launched in six languages, including English, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

This will be the first U-18 tournament for softball, after changes were made last year to the WBSC Softball World Cups. This event replaces the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship (U-19), held for the last time in Prince Albert, Canada, in 2018.

Corresponding with the launch of the new U-18 Softball World Cup, continental qualifiers were staged in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe to determine the field of nations and path to the world title.