Brink and Reckermann to meet Emanuel and Alison in final
The European champions won 21-14, 21-16 at Horse Guard’s Parade to set up a gold medal match against reigning FIVB world champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti of Brazil, who won when they met in the semifinals of the World Championships. Nummerdor and Schuil will now meet Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins in the bronze medal match.
“It was a sensational win,” Brink said. “We definitely have a medal, either gold or silver, one of those colours. I’m so proud of our performance. We knew it would be a great game and we kept the pressure on.
“We found out this afternoon it would be Alison and Emanuel and their names stand out as the most dangerous team on tour. They’re number one and I can talk about that team for half an hour.”
The 2009 FIVB world champions were quickly into their stride and didn’t give the Dutch pair a chance to settle into any rhythm. Reckermann dominated Schuil at the net and Brink swept up at the back of the court with a relentlessness that was key to their victory.
In the second the Germans continued where they left off and were quick to take control. The Dutch came within two points after a minor comeback, but the Germans had three match points and they booked their place in the final when Brink looped a shot to the back of the court.
“We are way better,” Brink said when asked how their form compares to when they won the 2009 World Championships. “If we played with the form of 2009 we would have only made it out of pool play. I’m not saying that because we are much improved, it is that our sport has improved.”
World champions stay on course for Olympic title
Emanuel and Alison remain on course to add the Olympic title to their collections with a 21-15, 22-20 win over Latvian duo Plavins and Smedins. If they win it will be Emanuel’s second Olympic gold after he previously won at Athens 2004, alongside Ricardo Santos.
“There’s one more game,” Emanuel said. “We played really good and we knew we would have to because they have a lot of skills. I’m playing with a player 12 years younger than me, who has a young and powerful game and he is my motivation to stay in the Olympics.”
Alison scored the opening point of the match with a trademark spike and from then on the Brazilians were firmly in control and they opened up gaps in the Latvian’s defence that they took advantage of with élan. Smedins' service error brought up match point and Alison blocked at the net to give the Brazilians the first set.
The second set continued in the same way and Emanuel and Alison appeared set to cruise to a straightforward victory before Plavins and Smedins rallied to come within one point. Two points from Smedins brought them level and after Brazil went to match point, they saved one, but were once again unable to get past Alison at the net as the Brazilians wrapped up the win.
Despite their defeat the Latvians have been a huge hit with the London 2012 crowds and still have the chance to improve on their fourth place finish from the 2011 FIVB World Championships.
“It’s ok. They are a very strong team, world champions from last year and going for the gold medal,” Plavins said. “Alison is great on the court. We are pleased to get 20 points in the second set and I hope they get the gold medal, but we will continue to fight for the bronze.”
In London the teams were divided equally into six pools of and the teams played each other once in their group. The top two advanced to the single-elimination knockout phase that began on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams competed in playoff matches to determine which pairs filled the final two places in the 16-team elimination bracket’s first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings. Five more joined as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals, and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain was granted a berth as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games is being held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of Horse Guards Parade in central London. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.