Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 1, 2015 - Alvaro Filho and Vitor Felipe upset the whole Dutch nation on Wednesday evening knocking out the reigning world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. The Brazilians defeated the home team 2-0 (21-19, 25-23) in a packed stadium on the Katendrecht peninsula in Rotterdam.
"I think the people of the Netherlands can still be proud of them, cause they are a tough team and I respect them a lot”, Alvaro said. The 24-year old defence player knows the Dutch team all too well, since he lost to them in the final of the previous World Championships in Poland in 2013.
“I laughed when I saw the draw. Sometimes destiny is great”, said Alvaro, who played with legend Ricardo Santos back then. “But it’s really not about the opponent in beach volleyball. It’s how you play yourself. And I would not call this win revenge, because I respect them too much.”
Both sets were tight, but the Brazilians simply made lesser mistakes in the end. The Dutch had ample opportunity to enforce a tiebreak; they had three set points in the second set. But it was Brazil who finished the game on their second match point.
Vitor Felipe’s serve was the key in winning, Alvaro said. “We talked tactics before the game, we knew the serve would be really important to put pressure on them, because we are a short team and they are so tall. And Vitor had some great serves at the end of the second set. He’s awesome.”Mexicans still going strong
The Brazilians will play Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen on Thursday for a spot in the quarterfinals. The Mexicans also disappointed the huge home crowd by eliminating the second Dutch team in Rotterdam, Michiel van Dorsten and Steven van de Velde, in two sets: 21-19, 24-22.
The Dutch, like Brouwer and Meeuwsen, had chances in the second set to take the match to a tiebreak, leading 17-13 in the end, but the Mexicans took over and levelled at 18-18.
Van Dorsten and Van de Velde saved two Mexican match points, but failed to claim the set point they created. In the end Virgen finished the match off at the third Mexican match point.
“We had to push hard to take the lead. But we didn't despair and in the end it worked out well for us", said Ontiveros. The Mexicans have already equalled their 17th place finish at the previous World Championships in Poland, but are looking for more, he said.
Brazil & Cuba
Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves grabbed the second chance they were given. The Brazilians barely made it out of the pool as the number three in pool L, but defeated Polish pool winners Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel 2-1 (21-15, 21-23, 15-13) in the first elimination round.
It was 2,10 meter tall Evandro who was the hero of the day for Brazil. His powerful jump serves (over 80 km per hour) caused problems in the Polish reception and he was by time unstoppable at the net.
Fijalek and Prudel lost the first set, but managed to win the second set, even though the Brazilians had a match point at 21-20. In the tiebreak the teams alternated taking the lead, but again Evandro scored some important points in the decisive phase.
"It's been such a weird week for us, because we didn't play well in the pool", Pedro Solberg said. "But now, look, I am still shaking."
The Brazilians will play dark horses Nivaldo Diaz & Sergio Gonzalez from Cuba, who never played on the World Tour before, but surprised everyone with second place in pool A.
On Wednesday evening they upset the Moscow Grand Slam champions Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira from Spain in just two sets: 21-19, 22-20. So Brazil, here they come.