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European Teams at World Baseball Classic: Italy advances to Quarterfinals, all secure spots for 2026
16/03/2023 2 Minute Read

European Teams at World Baseball Classic: Italy advances to Quarterfinals, all secure spots for 2026

The first round at the 2023 World Baseball Classic with thrilling games at the venues in Tokyo, Taichung, Miami and Phoenix is in the books. All the European participants, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, Czech Republic and Great Britain were able to win at least one game to ensure qualification for the 2026 edition. Italy survived a crazy five-team tie to earn a spot in the quarterfinals and the top eight.

Taichung: Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan served as host for Pool A with Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, Netherlands and Panama.
The Dutch team had a perfect start into the tournament, defeating Cuba (4-2) and Panama (3-1) on their way to a 2-0 record after the first two days. Italy also used Cuba as a springboard and celebrated a 6-3 victory in their first game. Italy (7-11) and the Netherlands (5-9) then both lost to Chinese Taipei. After Italy also lost to Panama (0-2) it set up a decisive duel in the last match of the round robin between the two European baseball powerhouses. Italy used a six-run fourth inning to win the game 7-1 and also survived a bases-loaded situation with no outs. This brought all five teams in the group to a 2-2 record. Cuba and Italy came out on top after the calculations sending them to Tokyo for the quarterfinals.

Tokyo: Legendary Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan hosted Pool B of the World Baseball Classic with Australia, China, Czech Republic, Japan and Korea.
For Czechia it was the debut on the WBC main stage after they prevailed at last year’s WBC Qualifier in Regensburg, Germany. The team of head coach Pavel Chadim opened the tournament with an 8-5 victory over China thanks to a ninth-inning home run. Czechia then lost 2-10 to Japan, 3-7 to Korea and 3-8 to Australia to finish the tournament’s first round with a 1-3 record. While they didn’t advance, with their victory over China they secured their spot in the 2026 World Baseball Classic. Japan and Australia moved to quarterfinals from this pool.

Phoenix: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona featured Pool C of the first round at the World Baseball Classic. With Great Britain alongside the United States, Colombia, Mexico and Canada it featured a team, which qualified for the first time through the WBC Qualifier in Regensburg, Germany last September. The British team started the tournament with a 2-6 loss to Team USA and an 8-18 high-scoring affair against Canada. In their third matchup, they prevailed 7-5 over Colombia for their first World Baseball Classic victory in federation history, which ultimately secured also their spot in the next edition of the Classic. However, after a 1-2 nailbiter loss to Mexico GB had to bow out of the 2023 tournament. Mexico and the United States advanced from Pool C to the quarterfinals in Miami.

Miami: IoanDepot park in Miami is hosting Pool D of the first round at the World Baseball Classic as well as the quarterfinals, semifinals and the final game. Israel, which celebrated a sensational sixth place finish at the last World Baseball Classic played in Pool D against Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua. Israel got off to a good start by edging out Nicaragua 3-1 in their opening match. But the following tasks against potential WBC winning candidates was too big as they lost to Puerto Rico 0-10, to the Dominican Republic 0-10 and to Venezuela 1-5. Still, with their win over Nicaragua Israel has secured their spot in the 2026 edition. Venezuela and Puerto Rico advanced to the quarterfinals from Pool D.

All information about the World Baseball Classic can be found at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

Cover photo by Czech Baseball Association