Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 29, 2015 – Defending world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen flexed their muscles Monday evening in Rotterdam. In a direct match for top position in pool E the almost flawless Dutch defeated European champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo 2-0 (22-20, 21-18).
“This is the first time in our career we win 2-0 against Lupo and Nicolai. That never happened before”, a very happy Brouwer said right after the match. So far the Dutch had been trailing the series 4-2 against the Italians. “This win will give us a lot of confidence and a boost for the rest of the tournament”, Brouwer concluded.
Meeuwsen praised his partner’s defence work. “The key in winning this game was Alex’ defence. He was touching every ball Lupo attacked and Lupo did not know where to play the ball anymore. And on top of that Alex was scoring them all. So I think that made the difference in this match.”
The Dutch served about every ball on Lupo to avoid Nicolai’s fierce attacks. And it worked, the tall Italian blocker tried to hit some attacks on two, but didn’t get a chance to shine.
The first set was tight, in the second the world champions leapt away from 16-16 to have their first match point at 20-16. The Italians warded off two but at 20-18 Lupo served wide.
“They played very consistent”, Nicolai said. “Our game was up and down, especially in the second. The first set was great beach volleyball. But for us there was no pressure, because whether we would win or lose we are in the elimination round anyway. But it was a good test.”
Both teams were impressed with the atmosphere in the 2,000-seat Katendrecht stadium, which was filled to the brim with cheering fans, Dutch but also Italian.
Brouwer: “It was amazing. All these people in the stadium and on the boat. It makes you want to fight for every point, give everything you have. Because that’s beach volleyball. We want to please the crowd too, to show them a good time as well. And although you’re always focussed it’s gives us a lot of energy and we try to give that energy back to the crowd. And I think that worked fantastic today.”
As pool winners the Dutch are staying in Rotterdam for the next round. The Italians, who finished second in the pool, will know after the drawing of lot on Tuesday if they will have to move or not.