Larnaka, Cyprus, July 31, 2016 – “The final of the men’s FIVB U19 World Championship is going to be spectacular”, predicted Rafael Mendonca de Quieroz after he and Renato Lima de Carvalho defeated France’s Timothee Platre and Remi Bassereau 2-1 (21-7, 19-21, 15-9) in the semifinals.
The Brazilians face Switzerland in the gold medal match on Sunday evening in Larnaka. And like the Brazilians Florian Breer and Yves Haussener are great diggers, said 18-year old Rafael. “It’s going to be a good game. Because, like us, they are very good in defence and never give up.”
U17 world champs Breer (17) and Haussener (18) defeated Latvians Mihails Samoilovs and Kristaps Smits 2-0 (22-20, 21-11). The Latvians, who came all the way from qualification, put up a big fight in the first set, but kind of gave up in the second.
“Winning the first set was the key in this match”, said Haussener. “Because they were in front a lot in the first, but then we were able to win it and that was very important. And we had a good start in the second as well.”
The Swiss have been playing together for three years and won gold at the U17 World Championships in 2014 in Acapulco, bronze at the U18 European championships in Riga in 2015 and bronze at the CEV U20 in Antalya this year.
The 18-year old Latvians just got together for this tournament. Mihails, brother of Aleksandrs Samoilovs, never played an international semifinal before. Smits in only one, when he finished 4th at the CEV U20 in Antalya with Ozolins.
Being the more experienced pair helped the Swiss in this match, especially mentally, said Haussener: “I think we understood that two points behind was like nothing when we weren’t playing that well in the beginning and we knew we just had to be patient until they started to make mistakes, that would be our chance and that happened.”
“We are happy to be in a world championship final again”, he continued. “Because we now proved that being in the U17 final was not just one time luck. And we also know now that our work in the past two years hasn’t been for nothing.”
For defence player Rafael and his 16-year old partner Renate, being in a final is all new. “First tournament. I am so proud of my team”, he said. “And I believe we can win the gold now too. We have worked so hard in this tournament and we have played very well in this championship.”
There was a hiccup in the second set against the U18 European champions from France, but overall the Brazilians were happy with their play. “It was very hot and we lost some concentration”, said Rafael. “But I told my partner we just had to play point-by-point in the tiebreak.”
“This is only our third tournament together. Rafael: “I live in the south and he in the northwest, so we don’t practice a lot together. And it’s been going well. So the final will be a good game for sure.”Quick Links
• U19 World Championships Larnaka, Cyprus 2016 - website
• Qualification - Men
• Qualification - Women
• Main draw - Men
• Main draw - Women