Beach Volleyball

Lithuania, Portugal, Austria and Finland advance to the Finals

Beach Nations Cup 2024

Article Sun, May 19 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

Lithuanian and Portuguese men and Austrian and Finnish women booked their tickets to the CEV Beach Nations Cup 2024 Finals this weekend, winning Preliminary Phase pools of the event held in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Balikesir, Türkiye.

Lithuanian men pleased their home fans in Vilnius

The Finals, which will be held in Jurmala, Latvia, from June 13-16, qualifying the winners in each gender for the Paris Olympics, now have 11 of the 12 participants in each gender determined. The last men’s spot will be awarded on Monday, at the conclusion of Pool C in Hamburg, Germany, while on the women’s side, the berth will be allocated to the National Federation with the highest position in the CEV Country Ranking as of June 10th, 2024, among all those finishing as runners-up in the 2024 Preliminary Phase.

The men’s Finals will have Latvia, as the host country, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, who won their pools at last year’s Beach Nations Cup, and Spain, Lithuania and Portugal, who did the same this year.

Latvia, as the host country, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland, as last year’s pool winners, and Ukraine, Spain, Austria and Finland, who triumphed this year, are confirmed in the women’s Finals.

In Vilnius, the Lithuanian men’s team pleased their fans by triumphing in Pool A. The final series needed a golden set to be decided and the home team of Patrikas Stankevicius and Audrius Knasas was on the winning side of it, downing Belgium’s Joppe Van Langendonck and Kyan Vercauteren 15-8.

The two had defeated Gilles Vandecaveye and Louis Vandecaveye 2-0 (21-19, 21-14), but their compatriots Robert Juchnevic and Artur Vasiljev fell to Van Langendonck and Vercauteren also in straight sets (21-17, 21-17), creating the need for the golden set.

“Our goal here was to show that Lithuania is among the top countries in Europe in beach volleyball. And the event showed how much people here love the sport. It was really amazing to play this tournament at home and we’ll now prepare for the Finals.”

Audrius Knasas
Lithuanian beach volleyball player

CEV Beach Nations Cup – Vilnius

The women’s Pool A in Lithuania had Austria as the winners, rewarding them for an amazing comeback after a first-round loss to Slovenia, whom they met again in the final series after wins over Romania and hosts Lithuania.

The Austrians recoverd from a first-round loss to finish on top

In the finals, the Austrians were dominant, with Katharina Schützenhöfer/Lena Plesiutschnig sweeping (21-13, 21-12) Maja Marolt/Živa Javornki and Ronja Klinger/Dorina Klinger topping Tjasa Kotnik/Tajda Lovsin also in two sets (21-11, 21-15).

“We all did a great job. Lena and I didn’t lose any matches here and starting the final ahead put the Klingers in a good position. And they were so confident in the semifinals and the finals. We can all be very proud of how we played. We have two teams of very similar level and I believe this can set us apart in the Finals if we work well over the next few weeks.”

Katharina Schützenhöfer
Austrian beach volleyball player

In Balikesir, Portugal caused perhaps the biggest upset of the Preliminary Phase in 2024, beating the experienced Polish team to finish in first place and advance to the Finals as the winners of Pool D.

The young Portuguese duos upset experienced Polish tandems in the final

The Portuguese prevailed in both matches of the final series, with Gonçalo Sousa/Tomas Sousa downing Maciej Rudol/Filip Lejawa 2-1 (21-19, 20-22, 22-20) and Hugo Campos/João Pedrosa prevailing over Piotr Kantor/Jakub Zdybek also in the tie-breaker (16-21, 21-11, 15-13).

“The final was amazing, two great matches. Our two teams deserve a lot of credit for upsetting two strong Polish teams to produce this amazing result. We’re very happy and motivated to keep working ahead of the Finals.”

Ricardo Rocha
Portuguese national team coach

CEV Beach Nations Cup – Balikesir

The women’s Pool B in Balikesir had Finland at the top thanks to exceptional performances from Taru Lahti-Liukkonen and Niina Ahtiainen, who defeated Czechs Barbora Hermannová and Marie-Sara Stochlova twice in the final series to give their country the victory.

The Finnish staged a massive comeback in the final against Czechia

The series started with Czechia ahead as Katerina Pavelková and Anna Pavelková defeated Anniina Parkkinen and Valma Prihti 2-1 (21-16, 20-22, 15-12), but Lathi and Ahtiainen stepped up to beat Hermannová and Stochlova 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) in their match and 15-13 in the golden set to turn things around.

“It was nice to be on the same side of the net with Valma again. The end of the last set was disappointing as we gave them a lot of free points, but there was a lot of good things in our game. Niina and Taru played wonderfully and we took a big win over Czechia.”

Anniina Parkkinen
Finnish beach volleyball player

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.