Three European pairs to challenge reigning world champions for Olympic gold
2012 Olympic Games
London, Great Britain, August 6, 2012. With the quiet whisper of knights of old mixing with the wild cheers of over 15,000 ecstatic fans on their feet honoring this millenium’s gallant warriors of the sand, the men’s semifinal matchups were determined Monday as teams from Brazil, Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands have advanced onto the threshold of the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade in central London.
A total 24 men’s beach volleyball teams from 19 countries started playing in London July 28 in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue also includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
Advancing from three matches in pool play and two elimination rounds, teams earning a place in the semifinals are Brazil’s top-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, Germany’s third-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann, Latvia’s 17th-seeded Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins and Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil. This will be the first final four appearance in the Olympic Games by men’s teams from Latvia and the Netherlands.
The men’s and women’s semifinal matches will be held on Tuesday in two sessions with two semis in each session, the first starting at 5 p.m. and the second session for the final two quarterfinals starting at 9 p.m.
The first men‘s semifinal at 5 p.m. on Tuesday will see Brazil’s 2011 FIVB SWATCH World Champions and 2011 FIVB SWATCH World Tour champs Alison/Emanuel playing against Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins.
The other men’s semifinal at 11 p.m. Tuesday will be between Germany’s Brink/Reckermann, 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions, and Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Schuil.
Both the Brazilian and Latvian teams advanced after winning three-set quarterfinal matches that both lasted 58 minutes as Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel nipped Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, 21-17, 16-21 and 17-15 and Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins came from behind to beat USA’s fourth-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, 19-21, 21-18 and 15-11.
Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel and USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal both leave London with 3-2 records here and both earned official fifth place finishes in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This will be the first meeting between Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel, who are in their third year as a team, and Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins, who have been a team since 2009.
Emanuel, 39, is competing in his fifth consecutive Olympic Games with a gold medal in Athens in 2004 and bronze medal in 2008 in Beijing playing with Ricardo Santos while it is the first for Alison, 26. For Latvia, This is the second Olympic Games for Plavins, 27, who played with Aleksandrs Samoilovs in 2008, and the first for Smedins, 25.
Germany’s Brink/Reckermann, the 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions, earned their place in the final four semifinals by defeating Brazil’s seventh-seeded Pedro Cunha and four-time Olympian Ricardo Santos, 21-15, 21-19 in 47 minutes. Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Schuil advanced by beating Italy’s 14th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai in straight sets as well, 21-16, 21-18 in 38 minutes.
Germany’s Brink/Reckermann lead the international series with Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Schuil, 5-2, although the Dutch beat the Germans in the last meeting in the gold medal match in Agadir, Morocco on Oct. 8, 2011 in three sets, 22-20, 16-21 and 15-11 in 58 minutes.
For Germany’s Brink, 30, and Reckermann, 33, this is second Olympics for each but first as team. They have been playing together since 2009, this is their 33rd international event and they have 23 final four appearances with four gold medals, seven silver, nine bronze and three fourth place finishes.
For Netherlands’ Nummerdor, 35, and Schuil, 39, who were fifth in 2008 Beijing Olympics, they have been playing together since 2006. This is their 69th international event as a team and they have earned 21 final four appearances with nine gold medals, five silver, two bronze and four fourth place finishes.
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