Japan will look for a third straight title in Surrey ©WBSC

The World Baseball Softball Confederation’s (WBSC) Women's Softball World Championship is due to begin in Canada tomorrow with Japan hoping to clinch a third title in a row.

A total of 31 teams will take part in all in Surrey, with matches taking place at the Softball City venue.

Japan, winners of the Olympic title the last time the sport was contested at the Games at Beijing 2008, will again be among the teams to beat after triumphing at both the 2012 and 2014 editions of the World Championships.

On both occasions they beat the United States in the final, 4-1 in Haarlem in The Netherlands in 2014 and 2-1 in Whitehorse in Canada two years earlier.

They have been drawn in Pool A with France and Venezuela, and will play the latter in their first game of the competition on Saturday (July 16).

The US, winners of the world title for seven consecutive years - a run stretching back to 1986 - before Japan's double success, will also be among the favourites again.

They will contest Pool B with Brazil, Austria and Israel and will also begin on day two of competition against the Austrians.

Hosts Canada are also expected to mount a strong challenge, buoyed by their Pan American Games gold medal on home soil in Toronto last year.

They will entertain Great Britain tomorrow with Ireland and Uganda also featuring in Pool D.

Pan American Games winners Canada are hosting the competition ©Getty Images
Pan American Games winners Canada are hosting the competition ©Getty Images

Australia, third in 2014, will play in Pool C with Mexico, Switzerland and Serbia with the former their first opponents tomorrow.

Pool E features Chinese Taipei, Puerto Rico, India and Ecuador with The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Philippines and Pakistan making up Pool F.

China, Cuba, Guatemala and Greece will lock horns in Pool G with New Zealand, Italy, Kenya and Peru colliding in Pool H.

After the preliminary round of competition is completed, nations will then be allocated to one of eight sections in a second round-robin stage based on their results.

The top two teams from each section will progress to the Championship double page system, where 17 matches will be held to eventually determine the winners.

A further 17 placement play-off matches are also due to be staged.

Competition is due to draw to a close on July 24, when the bronze and gold medal matches will be held.

All 124 games will be streamed online, the WBSC has announced.