Host City: MontrÃ©al, Canada
Venue(s): MontrÃ©al Forum, MontrÃ©al, QuÃ©bec; Paul SauvÃ© Arena, MontrÃ©al, QuÃ©bec
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 30, 1976
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
The two favored teams were Poland and the Soviet Union. They had finished 1-2 and split the last two major tournaments, Poland winning the 1974 Worlds and the Soviets winning the 1975 Europeans. The format was supposed to consist of 10 teams split into two pools of five, following by elimination matches. But the African boycott did affect the tournament. There were five teams playing in each pool, but in Group B, Egypt played one match and then withdrew, supporting the boycott. The 10 teams qualified as follows: defending champion (Japan), 1974 World Champion (Poland), African Champion (Egypt), European Champion (USSR), Asian Games Champion (Korea), North American Champion (Cuba), South American Champion (Brazil), host nation (Canada), and two teams qualified at a special tournament in Roma (Italy, Czechoslovakia).
Poland and the Soviet Union won the two groups without losing a match. They were joined in the semi-finals by Cuba and Japan. The USSR easily defeated Cuba in the first semi-final, while Poland was extended to five close sets against Japan, but both favorites made it thru to the final. There Poland won another five-set marathon, defeating the Soviets 15-7 in the final set. Cuba defeated Japan in straight sets to win the bronze medal, which was a huge surprise, as Cuba had never before placed in the top six at any international event.