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2017-07-21 11:24:00 CEST

World Champs pool preview – part 2

Women’s pools A-C go under the microscope

Larissa/Talita are hunting a first world champ gold together as a teamLarissa/Talita are hunting a first world champ gold together as a team

We preview all 24 pools ahead of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 in Vienna.

Here’s our second of eight parts, focusing on the women’s pools A, B and C.

Pool A – Women

Meet the teams

Larissa/Talita (Brazil)
Bieneck/Schneider (Germany)
Branagh/Day (USA)
Strauss/Holzer (Austria)

Click here for the Pool A schedule

The lowdown

Brazilians Larissa/Talita might be top seeds but they will be pushed all the way in a competitive pool that pairs them with one in-form German team, a three-time world champion and an up-and-coming tandem from the host country. Larissa won the world title with Juliana in Rome in 2011 but has formed a formidable partnership with Talita since joining forces in 2014. Germans Biecneck/Schneider go into the tournament full of confidence having posted five top 10 finishes in eight tournaments so far this season, including one bronze medal in China. In a pool deep in quality, three-time Olympic and three-time world champ Kerri Walsh Jennings was due to line-up with Nicole Branagh - but an injury to Kerri means Nicole will be partned by Emily Day. Young duo Teresa Strauss, 21, and Katrin Holzer, 19, fly the flag for Austria having been awarded a wildcard.

Game to watch

Look no further than Day/Branagh against Larissa/Talita. The match could be a crucial one as it’s both teams’ second game of the tournament. 

Laboureur/Sude will be aiming to follow up their Gstaad Major triumph with gold in ViennaLaboureur/Sude will be aiming to follow up their Gstaad Major triumph with gold in Vienna

Pool B – Women

Meet the teams

Laboureur/Sude (Germany)
Elsa/Navarro (Spain)
Echeverria/Martinez (Cuba)
Gorda/Galindo (Colombia)

Click here for the Pool B schedule

The lowdown

German duo Laboureur/Sude will be strong favorites in this group having swept all before them at the Gstaad Major in July. They were cruelly denied what would have been a deserved spot in the Rio Olympics due to the country quota rules but their performances have remained impressive with the Gstaad gold one of five medals won in the past 15 months. Spain’s challenge comes in the shape of Elsa/Navarro, a new partnership for 2017, while the Cuban and Colombian teams are both appearing in their first world championships as partnerships.

Game to watch

On paper it might not carry the glamour of a Walsh/Branagh v Larissa/Talita clash, but Cubans Echeverria/Martinez against Gorda/Galindo of Colombia could just be a match to keep an eye on. The Colombians have posted top 10 finishes in all five of their events on the South American tour, while the Cubans’ Martinez has world champs experience already having finished 33rd in Holland two years ago.

Reigning world champ Agatha (left) and Duda celebrate during the Fort Lauderdale MajorReigning world champ Agatha (left) and Duda celebrate during the Fort Lauderdale Major

Pool C – Women

Meet the teams

Agatha/Duda (Brazil)
Meppelink/van Gestel (Netherlands)
Gordon/Saxton (Canada)
Makokha/Too (Kenya)

Click here for the Pool C schedule

The lowdown

All eyes in Pool C will be on reigning world champ Agatha and her new partner, teenage sensation, Duda. The Brazilian pair have hit the ground running since pairing up, securing four podium finishes in six tournaments, including silver at the Fort Lauderdale Major in February and gold in the four-star Rio event. Experienced Dutch duo Meppelink/van Gestel qualified via the European continental process and are both two-time Olympians. Canadians Gordon/Saxton won back-to-back gold medals on the international tour this season and are appearing in their first world champs, while Kenya will be represented for the first time ever in the competition by Gaudencia Mahokha and Naomie Too.

Game to watch

Can Kenyan outsiders cause one of the biggest upsets in world champs history when they take on the Brazilians on the first Saturday of the tournament? This will be worth a watch regardless as Makokha/Too create history for the East African nation as it is their first match at the championships.

 

Previous previews: Men pools A-C

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