Exciting battles mark conclusion of CEV Continental Cup’s 1st Round
A total of 34 national teams per gender took part in the eight tournaments held across the continent. The 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup began on June 15, 2014, in Portoroz, Slovenia, which hosted the battles in Pool B. The following weekend, four different venues – Bournemouth (England), Schinias (Greece), Kardzhali (Bulgaria) and Baku (Azerbaijan) – served as the arenas for exhilarating beach volleyball action in Pools D, E, G and H respectively. This past weekend - on June 28 and 29 - Continental Cup fever spread yet further to Matosinhos (Portugal), Umag (Croatia) and Vilnius (Lithuania), with exciting country v country match-ups in Pools A, C and F. The competition will resume later this summer, when the 2nd Round matches are scheduled.
Two teams per gender from each pool qualified directly to the 3rd Round. On the men’s side, the 16 national federations which progress to the 3rd round are: France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, Greece, Estonia, Finland and Ukraine as pool winners, and Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Belarus, Cyprus, Serbia and Turkey as pool runners-up. In 2015, they will join the men’s beach volleyball national teams of the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Spain, Austria and Russia, which, based on the CEV Country Ranking, will start their campaigns directly from the third round.
Similarly, on the women’s side, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Spain are already preparing to take on the eight pool winners France, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Greece, Lithuania, Finland and Ukraine, and the eight runners-up Portugal, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, Belarus, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Israel from the first round.
These 24 teams per gender will be joined by eight more from the second round, which will include the 18 teams from the first round which did not progress directly to the third round.
The national federations of more developed beach volleyball nations see the Continental Cup as a great opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. Those whose chances of making it to Rio de Janeiro are very slim view this competition as a great opportunity for their players to feel the Olympic spirit, participate in the Olympic process and gain valuable international experience on the sand courts of Europe. And to really young beach volleyball nations, such as Iceland, this is even an opportunity to write history. On Sunday morning, on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, the women’s Icelandic duo Elisabet Einarsdottir/Berglind Gígja Jonsdottir recorded the first set ever won by a team from the island nation in an official international beach volleyball competition.
Click here for more detailed information on the competition.