Men's competition, Marseille
From 14 July To 18 July 2004

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Another Strong Brazilian Country Quota Test
MARSEILLE, FRANCE, July 14, 2004 - Some of the best Beach Volleyball on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour is played prior to the start of the "money" rounds, and here Wednesday morning, the Brazilian country quota playoffs featured three teams with podium finishers this season.

The advancing team from the three-way Brazilian playoff in the 11th annual World Series 13 event was Franco Neto and Tande Ramos, who had the "good" fortunate of playing the winner of the match between Pedro Cunha/Pará Ferreira and Fabio de Jesus Magalhães/Paulo Emilio Silva.

Cunha and Pará, who won the FIVB Puerto Rico stop last month, scored a 24-22 and 21-16 win over Magalhães and Paulo Emilio, who placed third last week in Mallorca while Franco and Tande took a weekend off after winning the bronze medal two weeks ago in Norway.

Franco and Tande, the top-seeded tandem in the 27-team Qualification Tournament, advanced to Wednesday afternoon's elimination bracket by ousting Cunha and Pará 21-16 and 21-18. Franco and Tande won the South African Open earlier this season when they upset the world's top-ranked team of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos in the All-Brazilian Cape Town finale.

Wednesday's country quota playoffs also featured two matches to determine France's final two spot in the elimination bracket of the qualifier. While 22nd-seeded Laurent Musnier/Stephane Vukajlovic and 23rd-seeded Aime-Julien Montal/Thomas Lambise had country quota byes, the French tandems of 26th-seeded Loivier Conte/Benoit Uguet and 27th-seeded Sebastien Huchard/Denis Damez won their preliminary matches Wednesday morning to advance to the elimination rounds.

Host France has already placed three teams in the 32-team Main Draw, including Stephane Canet and Mathieu Hamel, who have secured a provisional berth for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Other teams from France in the Main Draw are Kevin Cès/Yannick Salvetti and Ogier Molinier/Guilherm Deulofeu.

Canet and Hamel secured their provisional spot for the Olympics by placing ninth in the Berlin Grand Slam event three weeks ago. The French upset the Swiss Laciga brothers (22-24, 21-18 and 15-12) and Americans Eric Fonoimoana/Kevin Wong (9-21, 21-16 and 15-13) in Germany to improve their Olympic point total to 1,056.

Due to injuries the last two weeks, Canet and Hamel have placed 17th and 25th in Norway and Mallorca, respectively, to finish the Olympic qualifying process as the 20th-ranked team for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since January 2003.

The fifth of five-straight mixed gender events, the World Series 13 will start the men's Main Draw Thursday with the finals Sunday. The winning team shares the $41,500 first-place prize. The women's Main Draw started Wednesday and also concludes Sunday.