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Plavins & Tocs gain last spot in Tokyo qualifier

Edgars Tocs of Latvia chases the ball during a Saturday morning pool play match against Brazil at the FIVB Tokyo Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualification tournament in Haiyang, China.
Haiyang, China, September 21, 2019 - Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs of Latvia secured the last remaining place for the men's finals here Saturday morning by eliminating a Brazilian pair from the competition at the FIVB Tokyo Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualification tournament.

With Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands winning Pool J, Plavins and Tocs finished second in the group by posting a 2-0 (2-17, 21-16) win in 39 minutes over Andre Loyola and George Wanderley of Brazil. It was the first FIVB win in three meetings for Plavins and Tocs over the Brazilian.

With the win, Plavins and Tocs will play Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia in the first final on Saturday at 2 p.m. (local time) with the winning team securing a spot for their country in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The two teams have met before this season on the FIVB World Tour with the Russians winning a quarterfinal match over Plavins and Tocs June 15 in Warsaw, Poland.

Brouwer and Meeuwsen, who defeated both the Brazilians and Latvians Friday in opening Pool J matches, will meet Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy in the second final at 3 p.m. with the victorious pair also claiming a Tokyo 2020 Olympic berth for their nation.  It will be the 15th FIVB match between the two teams with the series tied 7-7 on the World Tour.

The Dutch-Italian confrontation also features the two podium placers at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where Lupo and Nicolai finished second after losing the gold medal match to Brazil's Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt.  Brouwer and Meeuwsen collected the bronze medal by defeating Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov in the third-place match on Copacabana on August 18, 2016.

Krasilnikov has already secured a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games berth for Russia as he and Oleg Stoyanovskiy punched their Summer Games ticket by winning the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany.

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