The organizers of the World Baseball Classic announced on Tuesday that they have sent out invitations to the same 16 teams like 2006. The eight final round participants Cuba, Japan, USA, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Korea, Mexico and Venezuela received automatic berths. They also invited the eight other countries, which were eliminated in the preliminary round for the 2009 edition. To this group belong the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Panama and South Africa. However they are considering expanding the field to 24 for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Obviously in this case you have to change the format.
The 2009 event is planned like 2006. It will start with four groups in four different cities. The top eight teams advance into a second round of pool-play with a knockout round to follow. Japan won the title in 2006, beating Cuba in the finale with 10-6. The Dominican Republic and Korea were also in the top four. The Dutch and the Italian team were eliminated in the first preliminary round.