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2017-08-03 08:00:00 CET

Top five matches to catch on Thursday

It’s crunch time as the knockout round continue at the World Championships

Doppler/Horst are on the Red Bull Beach Arena at 5.30pm todayDoppler/Horst are on the Red Bull Beach Arena at 5.30pm today

Win and you go through, lose and you go home – every match of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 has everything on the line from this moment on.

The stakes could hardly be higher, so with teams fighting to keep their Viennese adventure alive, we’ve picked out five games you cannot miss on day seven on the Danube Island.

Who? Pavan/Humana-Paredes v Hüberli/Betschart

Where? Side Court 2

When? 11.30am CET

Why? Pavan/Humana-Paredes arrived in Vienna with form and confidence already on their side, but they’ve somehow managed to take that to another level.

The Canadians enter each match they play as favorites, but with the 10th seeds Hüberli/Betschart on the other side of the net on Thursday morning, they won’t be in for an easy ride.

The Swiss team performed excellently to usurp Austrians Schützenhöfer/Schwaiger on Red Bull Beach Arena in their last knockout, though they will have to be better if they are to avoid their heavy defeat in the previous meeting between the two.
 

Who? Lidy/Leila v Bansley/Wilkerson

Where? Side Court 2

When? 12.30pm CET

Why? Don’t leave your seats on the side court, because another potential classic comes onto the sand.

Cuba’s Lidy/Leila have so far been a surprise package in the competition since losing their first two games, and they certainly won’t be unhappy to once again have the underdogs tag as Canada’s Bansley/Wilkerson come to town.

They have won three of their four matches in confident style so far, with Bansley in particular desperate to repeat her fifth-place finish in 2015.
 

Who? Claes/Hughes v Ludwig/Walkenhorst

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

When? 4.30pm CET

Why? You can always expect plenty when Ludwig/Walkenhorst are in town, and they will be keen to bounce back from what was not the perfect performance for the Olympic champions.

But the sign of champions is to come through in whatever situation – after all, they had a near-perfect pool stage, while Claes/Hughes come into this game as one of the most exciting pairs on the circuit.

A season of consistency has blessed them so far, but could this be the tournament in which they really break through? They do lead the head-to-head against the Germans, so definitely do not rule the Canadians out of contention.
 

Who? Doppler/Horst v Brunner/Patterson

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

When? 5.30pm CET

Why? A warm summer evening with Doppler/Horst on court – there is hardly anything better for an Austrian beach volleyball fan.

Experience doesn’t come much bigger than what these two have, but in Brunner/Patterson they’ll face an American team who have also been there and seen lots of the scene.

These pairs met as recently as the Gstaad Major, when the Austrians prevailed, and with a packed-out Red Bull Beach Arena cheering them all the way, you wouldn’t bet against them reveling in the expectation once more.

Interestingly, both sides also lost their last pool match prior to the knockout stages.
 

Who? Ermacora/Pristauz v Pedro/Guto

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

When? 6.45pm CET

Why? The home heroes won’t be done with Doppler/Horst, as Ermacora/Pristauz take to the court looking to make their wildcard berth count once again.

A place in the last-16 would mark an awesome achievement from this pair, and we’ve already seen the Austrian crowd work wonders when their stars are on the sand.

But with a World Championships bronze medalist in Pedro on the other side of the net, they won’t have it easy against a team who are playing in their first world championships as a pair here in Vienna.

The M&Ms are last on the Red Bull Beach Arena on ThursdayThe M&Ms are last on the Red Bull Beach Arena on Thursday

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