Beach Volleyball

CEV Beach Nations Cup Final: Men’s Pool Previews


Article Wed, Jun 12 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

There’s one spot left for European men’s beach volleyball teams at the Paris Olympics and 12 countries will battle for it this week during the CEV 2024 Beach Nations Cup Final, which will take place in Jurmala, Latvia, from June 13-16.

Lukas Pfretzschner and Sven Winter helped Germany advance from the Preliminary Phase and will be in action in the Final

The tournament will begin with the 12 nations split into four pools, with the two best in each pool advancing to the elimination rounds, which will have the quarterfinals, the semifinals and the final.

The Beach Nations Cup has a different competition format, promoting ‘country vs. country’ battles. Each nation is represented by two teams and the duels take place in a best-of-three format, with the decider, if needed, being a 15-point golden set.

Beach Nations Cup Final – Men 

The drawing of lots held on Tuesday set the path for the 12 participating teams, so let’s see what to expect from each of the four men’s pools:

Pool A

Austria will enter the tournament without their two top available blockers as Robin Seidl and Martin Ermarcora are both down injured, making their teammates Moritz Pristauz and Philipp Waller to pair with 18-year-old Timo Hammarberg and veteran Christopher Dressler respectively. They still have two solid teams and should be able to advance.

The Huerta brother Javier and Alejandro will lead Spain in Jurmala

The second country in the pool, Spain will heavily rely on the Huerta brothers Alejandro and Javier to progress as their second team, formed by 22-year-old Antonio Saucedo and 22-year-old Álvaro Iglesias is fairly inexperienced at the international level.

It’s a similar scenario with Portugal, the third nation in Pool A, as the country’s top team of João Pedrosa and Hugo Campos has been fairly more successful than the Sousa brothers Gonçalo and Tomas and will carry most of the Portuguese hopes in the event.

Pool B

The host country of the Games, France already have a team guaranteed and will try to qualify another one in Jurmala. Former volleyball players Julien Lyneel and Rémi Basserau form one of their teams with reigning U20 European champion Téo Rotar replacing the injured Youssef Krou and partnering with Arnaud Gauthier-Rat in the other.

Lyneel and Bassereau will try to make it to the Olympics on the sand (Photo: Volleyball World)

After qualifying one team on the women’s side, Lithuania will try to do the same among the men. Patrikas Stankevicius and Audrius Knasas, who ton three lower-level international events over the last three years, have been the country’s most successful duo, but veterans Robert Juchnevic and Artur Vasiljev have also appeared in several tournaments recently.

Germany are always a force in the continent and will be strong contenders to have a second team in Paris. Their top duo of Lukas Pfretzschner and Sven Winter has been playing well at the highest level recently and Paula Henning and Bennet Poniewaz also have enough quality to win matches this week. 

Pool C

Pool C is the most unpredictable in the event, with three squads that could end the week at the top of the podium. Norway’s top team of Hendrik Mol and Mathias Berntsen was close to qualifying via the Olympic Ranking while 22-year-old Markus Mol and 21-year-old Jo Sunde form one of the many exciting young teams in the country right now.

Tokyo Olympian Adrian Heidrich and partner Leo Dillier will represent Switzerland

The winners of the Olympic spot via the European pathway three years ago for Tokyo, Switzerland appear as strong contenders again. With Marco Krattiger/Florian Breer and Adrian Heidrich/Leo Dillier, the Swiss have arguably the most balanced squad among the 12 set to compete this week and will be tough opponents in every single match.

Poland also have plenty of experience in their squad, especially with two-time Olympian Piotr Kantor, who partners with Jakub Zdybek. His former partner Maciej Rudol has also been competing internationally for several years now and will have Filip Lejawa by his side in Jurmala.

Pool D

Hosts Latvia will try to make the most of their last opportunity of having a team in Paris and will have a legend of the sport in three-time Olympian and London 2012 bronze medalist Martins Plavins leading a young squad that features his partner, 19-year-old Kristians Fokerots, as well as the second team, which features 23-year-olds Arturs Rinkevics Ardis Bendritis.

Olympic medalist Plavins will lead a young Latvian squad in Jurmala

Sweden will have recently crowned U22 European champions Jacob Hölting Nilsson (19) and Elmer Anderson (17) as their top team this week in Jurmala. With 21-year-old Theodor Grahn and 20-year-old Linus Isaksson in their second team, the Swedish will have the youngest roster in the event.

The third nation in the pool, Belgium has been seeing the Vandecaveye brothers Louis and Gilles make strides at lower-level international events, but should have a hard time getting out of the pool. For that to happen, their second team, formed by 18-year-old Daan Hendrikx and 20-year-old Kyan Vercauteren, will need to overcome their lack of international experience.