Defending champions Poland made a winning start versus Bulgaria ©Volleyball World

Co-hosts Poland launched their defence of the Men's Volleyball World Championship crown with a straight-sets victory over Bulgaria in Katowice.

Kamil Semeniuk top scored with 16 points while captain Bartosz Kurek notched 13 including two blocks as three-time winners Poland completed a 25-12, 25-20, 25-20 success in the Pool C opener.

There was also joy for fellow hosts Slovenia who overcame a plucky Cameroonian side 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 in Ljubljana.

Štern Tonček was the star of the show for Slovenia, racking up 18 points in the Pool D victory.

The other Pool D clash saw Olympic champions France defeat Germany 25-22, 28-26, 26-24 in the Slovenian city.

Ljubljana also played host to two Pool B matches as Brazil and Japan got their campaigns off to winning starts.

Brazil, who lost to Poland in the 2018 final, survived an almighty scare as they came back from two sets down to overcome Cuba in a nail-biting five-setter.

Wallace de Souza, who was part of the Brazilian team that struck gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, chipped in with a match-high 22 points on his return as his side beat Cuba 31-33, 21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 18-16.

There were also strong contributions from Yoandy Leal, Lucas Saatkamp and Flavio Gualberto in Brazil's success, while Cachopa made a big impact off the bench.

"It’s not easy to play against a team like Cuba in a World Championship opening match," said Cachopa.

"They’re a young team, but a very strong one.

"We need to give everything we have at every point, and that’s what we did today."

Nishida Yuji produced a superb all-round performance, notching four blocks in a 17-point haul as Japan defeated Qatar 25-20, 25-18, 25-15.

While Poland powered past Bulgaria, the United States pulled off an equally emphatic display to see off Mexico in the other Pool C fixture in Katowice.

Russell Aaron and Defalco Torey were key men for the US, scoring 16 and 14 points respectively to help their side to secure a 25-18, 25-20, 25-12 victory.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow.