Double joy for Greece, sad day for the Dutch
For Dutch veteran Richard Schuil this might have well been his last match on the World Tour, he said afterwards. “If we have to play qualification again in Beijing, I am finished.”
The 40-year old won gold at the Olympics in 1996 with the Dutch volleyball team before he switched to the sand. With Nummerdor he won three European Championships and nine FIVB World Tour events.
No big deal
“We do still have a lot of points, so there might be a chance we get into main draw in Beijing, but this might also have been my last match. Nothing special, for me it’s no big deal”, the down-to-earth Dutchmen said.
His partner was realistic about their performance on Wednesday. “I can be short about it, we don’t play enough and don’t practice enough. Then you just can’t win these matches. It’s simple. If we are well, we would have won this easily.”
The Dutch won the first set against Kotsilianos and Zoupanis and came back from behind in the tiebreak, but lost 2-1 (19-21 21-16 15-13) in the end.
The key to winning, according to Kotsilianos, was concentration. “We had a good side-out, but the key was concentration. That was the base, concentration and go for each ball. That is beach volleyball I think.”
First main draw in three years
Kotsilianos (30) and Zoupani (24), who defeated Czech team Dumek/Kubala 2-1 (23-21 18-21 15-12) in the first qualification round, have been playing together for three years, but never reached the main draw of a FIVB event before.
“It was a very tough match, our second tough match of the day. I am really happy right now, I have no words”, Kotsilianos said. “We have tried many times and were close many times to qualify, but usually we lost concentration in the final details. But in this game we were focussed for a 100 percent, I think. We tried hard and we won.”
“For us it’s very important to win against them. It’s a team that has played many years at a high level. This is the way we want to go, as a target, an example for us.