The pools and venues for the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) preliminaries were announced on Thursday. From MLB.com:
Four sites -- one each in Germany, Panama, Taiwan and Florida -- will host the preliminary round of the tourney, and the winner of each group will progress to the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Twelve teams have already qualified for the tournament, and four more will join the expanded field.
... The qualifying round will help push the total number of nations involved to 28, and the qualifiers will feature a six-game modified double-elimination tournament. Each regional pool was determined after venues were selected, and weight was given to competitive balance and existing rivalries.
Four of the teams in the qualifying round -- Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa -- participated in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but did not win a game.
The other 12 teams from the 2009 World Baseball Classic -- Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela -- will be included in 2013 based on their performance last time.
Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Great Britain
France, Israel, South Africa and Spain
Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines
Panama City, Panama
Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Brazil