The Hague, Netherlands, June 23, 2015 - The group stage of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015 features 144 matches. Read about four that stand out.1) Larissa/Talita – Van der Vlist/Van Gestel (Saturday, June 27 at 13.00 local time - Amsterdam)
The first Dutch pair to enter the competition in Amsterdam are Jantine van der Vlist and Sophie van Gestel. They will play the legendary Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes on Dam Square. The Brazilian team seems unstoppable - since last August, they have won all five FIVB World Tour tournaments they have participated in. This season they claimed gold twice, in Moscow and Porec.
Van der Vlist/Van Gestel teamed up only last winter. Van Gestel is one of the World’s most spectacular players. She’s fast and athletic, she has a huge reach and a lot of power. Van Gestel will have to be able to call on her best defensive skills in the first match, however, when she will be up against Talita, one of the best attackers in the world.2) Brouwer/Meeuwsen – Nicolai/Lupo (Monday, June 29 at 20.00 local time - Rotterdam)
On Monday night, the reigning world champions Robert Brouwer and Alexander Meeuwsen will play reigning European champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo. The last time these four players met was at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow Grand Slam 2015. The Dutch team won by a very narrow margin in the third set (15-13).
That victory can prove important for the Dutch as the Italians won the four previous encounters. It’s very likely that the result of this game will determine who will claim first place in Pool E and a favourable draw in the elimination phase.3) Walsh/Ross – Bansley/Pavan (Tuesday, June 30 at 14.00 local time - Apeldoorn)
Triple world champion Kerri Walsh could write beach volleyball history by becoming the first player ever to become world champion for the fourth time in the Netherlands. But it is unknown how fit she will be at the start of the World Championships. In late May, Walsh suffered a shoulder injury during the Moscow Grand Slam. The American team had to withdraw from the tournament and went straight back to the US, where Walsh has worked tirelessly on her recovery.
The start of the season for Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan was far more convincing. The Canadian women reached a final on the FIVB World Tour twice this season. The women from Ontario claimed silver at the Fuzhou Open and the Porec Major Series.4) Emanuel/Ricardo – Herrera/Gavira (Tuesday, June 30 at 18.00 local time - Amsterdam)
For Pablo Herrera the last pool match in Amsterdam will be an encounter with two familiar opponents. In 2004, he played Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos in the Olympic final. In Athens, the Brazilians won the gold medal at the expense of Herrera and his previous partner Javier Bosma. This match is not only interesting from a historic perspective, however. Twelve years on, the Spaniard and the Brazilians are still among the world’s best. Herrera now forms an impressive duo with Adrian Gavira. They were European champions together in 2013 and this season, when the Spanish showed why they should be feared during the World Championships. Recently Herrera and Gavira celebrated their first FIVB World Tour victory, when they claimed gold at the Moscow Grand Slam.