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Norway clinch place at London 2012 Olympics

Norway celebrate after they win a ticket to the 2012 Olympic Games in London
Alanya, Turkey, June 24, 2012 – Norway booked their place in the men’s beach volleyball tournament of the London 2012 Olympic Games by overpowering the Netherlands 3-2 in the CEV Men's Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Finals in Alanya, Turkey on Sunday.

The Netherlands, Poland and Austria, the second, third and fourth ranked countries in the eight-team event, will stay in competition for the last two Olympic berths on offer at the FIVB World Cup Qualification Tournament in Moscow, Russia from June 27 to July 1. 

Tarjei Skarlund, Martin Spinnangr, Iver Horrem as well as Geir Eithun eventually proved too strong for the Dutch team of Daan Spijkers, Emiel Boersma, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. 

After four hard-fought matches, the Dutch coaches sent in Emiel Boersma and Daan Spijkers in for the Golden Set, while Norway continued with the winners from match No. 4, Iver Horrem and Geir Eithun. Norway jumped out for an early 5-2 lead. But the Netherlands regained control with four consecutive points at 6-5. Supported by the noisy Dutch fans, Boersma/Spijkers opened the gap even to two points at 9-7. The match was then balanced on a knife edge with both teams showing spectacular rallies and a riot of emotion. After five hard-fought final matches and three tough competition days, Eithun blocked for a 15-14 Norwegian lead. A Spijkers’ smash out of bounds ended the final duel in Norway’s favor to bounce the Scandinavian delegation in heaven. 

In the first clash of the day, Iver Horrem and Geir Eithun edged Daan Spijkers/Emiel Boersma in straight sets (23-21, 22-20) to give Norway a 1-0 lead. Spijkers/Boersma jumped out for an early lead in the first set, but Horrem/Eithun fought back bravely to take the first set 23-21. A 16-13 Dutch lead in the second set was again not good enough as Horrem/Eithum scored five points in a row to end the first duel in the gold medal game in Norway’s favour. 

A spectacular Robert Meeuwsen block gave the Netherlands a 1-0 (25-23) set lead in the second duel. Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer also kept the upper hand in the second set, while Norway’s Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr couldn’t find a way to overcome the strong Dutch defence system. After 47 minutes of play, the Netherlands closed it out 2-0 (25-23, 21-11) to level the final clash to 1-1 after the morning session. 

After the midday break, both teams wanted to make amends for the loss in their first game. Emiel Boersma and Daan Spijkers won the opening set of match No. 3 convincingly (21-18). However, Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr struck back with Spinnangr blocking for a 21-19 set win. In the deciding set, the Dutch kept things firmly in hand. Daan Spijkers ended the match (15-11) with a cross court missile to offer the Netherlands a hotly contested 2-1 match lead. 

However, Iver Horrem and Geir Eithun still had a chance to turn the tables for Norway in the fourth match. Nevertheless, Alexander Brouwer made the scoreboard moving for the Netherlands and his partner Robert Meeuwsen as he smashed the Mikasa down the line to give the Dutch a 1-0 set lead. Horrem/Eithun didn’t give up, coming back strongly in set two (21-19). Horrem/Eithun kept cool in the third period by ending the set 15-13 and the match 2-1 to move Norway to the deciding Golden Set. 

As Russia haven’t qualified directly to the FIVB Men’s World Cup Olympic Qualification and in order to have a balanced roster (of six countries per group), an additional spot has been granted to Europe. This extra ticket is given to the fourth ranked country in the CEV Continental Cup Final. Therefore the bronze medal match in Alanya has not been played. Poland finishes third, Austria fourth (according to the CEV country ranking). 

Host Russia (organizer), the Netherlands, Poland, Austria (CEV), Mexico and Cuba (NORCECA), Angola and Nigeria (CAVB), Chile and Uruguay (CSV) as well as China and Australia (AVC) will fight for the last two Olympic berths on offer at the FIVB World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament in Moscow, Russia from June 27 to July 1. 

With the Olympic Games 2012 approaching very quickly, the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final was the last and deciding stage of the competition with the best European teams stemming from the previous rounds trying to fulfill their Olympic dream. Since Friday players from eight countries were fighting for only one ticket for the London Olympics. 


The Netherlands vs Norway 2-3

Boersma E.-Spijkers vs Horrem-Eithun 0-2 (21-23, 20-22)
Brouwer-Meeuwsen vs Skarlund-Spinnangr 2-0 (25-23, 21-11)
Boersma E.-Spijkers vs Skarlund-Spinnangr 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 15-11) 
Brouwer-Meeuwsen vs Horrem-Eithun 1-2 (21-18, 19-21, 13-15)
Boersma E.-Spijkers vs Horrem-Eithun 0-1 (14-16) 


1. Norway*
2. The Netherlands**
3. Poland**
4. Austria**
5. Spain
5. Russia
5. Sweden
5. Turkey 

*qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games 
**qualified for the FIVB Men’s World Cup Olympic Qualification


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