|Porto Santo, Portugal, September 17, 2004 - Arjanne Stevens and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands prevented a possible All-Brazilian gold medal match at the fourth annual FIVB World Championships for players under 21 years old by eliminating Maria Antonelli and Nina Vieira here Friday afternoon.
Seeded 22nd in the 24-team Main Draw, Stevens and Van Iersel posted a 23-21, 18-21 and 15-13 in 68 minutes over the 23rd-seeded Antonelli and Vieira to advance to Saturday's second semi-final match against 19th-seeded Marion Castelli and Eva Hamzaoui of France.
Castelli and Hamzaoui posted their fifth-straight win of the competition by upsetting third-seeded Sara Goller and Ilka Semmler of Germany 17-21, 21-19 and 15-8. The Germans had not lost a set in their previous four matches in the World Championships.
Second-seeded Taiana Lima and Carolina Solberg Salgado will be Brazil's "final four" team as they advanced to Saturday's play with a 21-13 and 22-20 win over the fourth-seeded Schmocker twins (Sarah and Tanya) of Switzerland.
The Brazilians will now play seventh-seeded Sarka Nakladalova and Veronika Opravilova of the Czech Republic, who eliminated ninth-seeded Maria Bratkova and Anna Morozova of Russia 17-21, 21-13 and 15-13.
Lima will be playing for her second U-21 title after winning the world championship in 2002 with Juliana Felisberta Silva. Lima and Felisberta Silva, who won a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event this season in Mallorca with Larissa Franca, placed fifth in the first FIVB U-21 event in 2002 in France.
Solberg Salgado, whose has a brother (Pedro) competing in the men's U-21 first-round, was third in last year's U-21 World finals with Maria Salgado Rufino in Saint Quay Portrieux, France. Solberg Salgado also placed second last week in the women's FIVB U-18 world Championships with Barbara Figueirado in Termoli, Italy.
Netherlands' Van Iersel is hoping for a better "final four" result this week after placing fourth with Margo Wiltens in Termoli. Stevens will be seeking her second FIVB junior title after winning the 2002 U-18 title with Sanne Keizer in Greece.
The mixed gender event ends Saturday afternoon for the women while the men play the first two rounds of the elimination bracket. The men's semi-finals and medal matches will be played Sunday.