Beach volleyball: Dutch humble Germans
LONDON (Reuters) - The intense sporting rivalry between the Netherlands and Germany hit the beach on Tuesday, with the Dutch celebrating a 2-0 victory in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament at Horse Guards Parade.
The normal party atmosphere of the sport was set aside for 35 minutes as the Dutch tore their opponents apart in heavy rainfall.
"It was especially fantastic to keep them under 10 points (in the first set). In beach volleyball that is a big thing. We were really happy they made only nine points," said Richard Schuil who, with Reinder Nummerdor, recorded a crushing 21-9, 21-16 win over a German pair in men's pool E.
The Dutch pair reached the quarter-finals in Beijing and Schuil will be hoping to add to the volleyball gold medal he won at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
They are through to the knockout phase after two victories while the German team of Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik are threatened with elimination following two losses.
Erdmann refused to blame the weather for his team's loss.
"The ball is heavier (when it rains) so it's difficult to make a proper set, but it was not the reason (for the defeat)," he said, adding that the movement of the crowd was distracting.
"When you want to serve and the spectators are moving it is not easy to see the net but we have to concentrate more on our game," he said.
Schuil had little sympathy for his opponent.
"No. I don't have any problems. You win or you lose and if you lose, you have excuses," said the Dutchman.
In pool A, Brazil's Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti were grateful to see familiar faces as the gold medal favourites bounced back from a wobbly start to the tournament and cruised into the knockout phase.
The Brazilians hit top form as they comfortably defeated Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda of Switzerland 2-0 (21-17, 21-12).
"If they play like they played today, they can beat every team, but in their first match they didn't play very well," Heuscher told reporters.
Beijing gold medallist Emanuel said the key difference was playing known opposition.
The Brazilians narrowly averted one of the biggest upsets in Olympic beach volleyball in their first match when they faced a recently formed Austrian pairing of Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst, the bottom-ranked team in the tournament.
"I think the big difference (was) we didn't know the team, we have never played them. It was hard to find a good strategy and they showed they knew everything about us," Emanuel told reporters.
It was the third time they had faced the Swiss.
"We knew their best points and worst points and we tried to create a good strategy and that I think was the difference between the two matches," he said.
Beijing gold medallists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States had a 2-1 win (19-21, 21-16, 15-13) against Spain's Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira in Pool B.
"We made it hard for ourselves tonight. We had a lot of opportunities in the first set but did not score the points. And when we did, we could not hold on to the darn lead. We are really lucky to come out with a W (win) tonight," Rogers said.
(Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Alison Wildey)
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