|Termoli, Italy, September 11, 2004 - For many of the fans watching this weekend's women's FIVB U-18 World Championships, Sunday's first semi-final between Germany and Brazil will feature the two best teams in the competition.
But, don't tell that to Margo Wiltens as she and Marlen Van Iersel will play one of the two teams in a medal match after winning the Netherlands team won a pair of elimination matches here Saturday to advance to Sunday's first semi-finals against 23rd-seeded Katarzyna Urban and Joanna Wiatr of Poland.
Sunday's second "final four" match will have second-seeded Barbara Figueiredo and Carolina Solberg Salgado of Brazil facing third-seeded Florentina Büttner and Julia Sude of Germany.
"Don't expect us or the Poles to lack any confidence in playing either the Germans or the Brazilians," said Wiltens. "We like our chances as all four of the finalists are very good teams and each is capable of winning the gold medal. The team with the fewest mistakes will win Sunday."
The fifth-seeded Van Iersel and Wiltens will be facing Urban and Wiatr for the second-time this summer as the Poles scored a 15-21, 23-21 and 15-11 win over the Netherlands pair in the first-round of the elimination bracket at the European finals. Urban and Wiatr defeated Büttner and Sude 21-18, 15-21 and 16-14 in the European U-18 gold medal match.
"We are excited to have a chance to play the Polish team again," said Wiltens. "We played them tough in the EU finals on their home sand. If we play like we played against the Americans today, we'll have an excellent chance for a win."
Van Iersel and Wiltens scored a 21-9 and 21-17 win over fourth-seeded Cynthia Barboza and Stephanie Barry of the United States to advance to the finals. Urban and Wiatr gained a "final four" berth with a 21-14 and 21-12 win over 24th-seeded Oksana Bosjanok and kadri Puri of Estonia.
Brazil and Germany were guaranteed spots in the semi-finals as their quarter-final matches pitted two teams from the same country. Büttner and Sude eliminated 19th-seeded Lina Gorenc and Katarina Schillerwein 21-16, 19-21 and 15-9 for Germany's "final four" berth. Figueiredo and Solberg Salgado scored a 21-19 and 21-12 win over 22nd-seeded Carolina Aragao and Clarisse Peixoto for Brazil's spot in Sunday's semi-finals
The FIVB U-18 World Championships also features men's competition as both genders conclude play Sunday with the semi-finals and medal matches for both genders.