Host England to Face Japan in 2016 World Championships Rematch in London
The draw ceremony for the long anticipated 2018 ITTF Team World Cup has concluded today in London, England, with the 12 men's and women's teams drawn into their respective groups for the first stage of competition.
Host team England will be looking to avenge their 2016 World Team Championships semifinals loss against the Japanese Men's Team in a rematch at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup group stage tomorrow on home soil.
England who shocked the world at the Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships to win their first World Championships medal since 1983, narrowly missed out their chance to make the final, after losing 1-3 to the Japan in Kuala Lumpur.
On the rematch against the second seed in London, Englishman Liam PITCHFORD shared "In Kuala Lumpur we competed well and surprised everyone to win a bronze medal. Of course, here it will be tough, we play Japan, they have a strong young team, Tomozaku HARIMOTO especially! It's massive to play in front of a home crowd, London 2012 was special, so I am ready."
World Team Champions China will be looking at defending their titles earned in Dubai in 2015, sending out their top players including World & Olympic Champions MA Long and DING Ning.
The Chinese Women's Team, missing world number one CHEN Meng, will face off old rivals early, playing their first match of the tournament with Korea DPR, whom they beat in the 2015 Team World Cup Women's Final to claim Gold.
The 2018 ITTF Team World Cup will test the new playing system for the Olympic Team event that will be used at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where the doubles match will be played first, followed by the singles matches. The benefit is that the best players are ensured to play against each other, as well as fans and media knowing all the five upcoming matches before the match starts, which was not the case with the previous system.
The 2018 ITTF Team World Cup will be take place at the iconic Copper Box Arena in London, England from tomorrow 22 February till 25 February.
The next day and a half will see the 12 teams battle in four groups of three in the qualifications group stage in a round robin. The top two teams of each group will then be drawn in the second stage which will follow a knockout system, with the semifinals taking place on 24 February, and the Champions being decided on 25 February 2018.