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Roundup: Gold favorites in beach volleyball final, defending champions out
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16:12, August 20, 2008

Men's beach volleyball final at the Beijing Olympics will be played between Brazil and the United States but defending champions from the South American country will miss the gold medal match.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Brazilian defending champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos were knocked out in a semifinal on Wednesday.

Their fellow Brazilians, third-placed duo Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes, terminated their dream of winning title again in straight sets (22-20, 21-18).

"Fabio and Marcio played very well in the match. Their blocks and strikes were excellent and we made a lot of mistakes," commented Santos after the match."We knew the match would be very difficult. We gave 120 percent of our energy in the match, not 100 percent," said Araujo. "We played well in defense and blocks," he said.

Rego and Santos will meet Georgia's Renato Gomes and Jorge Terceiro, who lost to U.S. duo Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in another semifinal, in the bronze medal match on Friday, while the two Brazilian finalists will face U.S. duo Rogers/Dalhausser in the gold medal match.

As expected, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States downed their rivals in another semifinal on Wednesday. They breezed past Renato Gomes/Jorge Terceiro of Georgia in two straight sets 21-11, 21-13.

The Georgian pair, who surprisingly eliminated fifth-seeded Reinder Mummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, had hardly any resistance in most of time against the U.S. duo, especially the 2.06-meter-tall Dalhausser, whose efficiency at the net is big headache for almost all rivals.

"They are so strong a team, I even didn't know how to concentrate on the game," said Terceiro after the match.

The U.S. duo experienced setbacks in the preliminary round and round of 16 match as they sometimes had to come from behind to win a match but as the matches went on, the Americans have also been playing more solid.

They are five-time FIVB World Tour gold medalists and in 2007 they won the FIVB World Championships.

Dalhausser was FIVB World Tour best blocker in 2006 and 2007 and best hitter in 2007 while his partner Rogers was best FIVB World Tour defensive player in 2006 and 2007.

The Americans entered the Beijing Olympics with a 21-match winning streak this year. They are also placed first on the Olympic qualification rankings.

Both in the men's and women's events, the United States and Brazil have dominated in beach volleyball since the television-friendly sport made its debut at the Olympics in 1996. The United States has won the men's event twice and Brazil was awarded the gold in 2004 Athens Games.

In the women's version, the Americans were champions in 2004 and the Brazilians won the title in 1996.

Among the 12 silvers and bronzes, seven were pocketed by the Americans and Brazilians.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 44 14 19 77
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 10 9 35
4 Russia 11 14 18 43
5 Australia 11 12 12 35
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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