2017-12-29 10:00:00 CET
Which teams ended the year among the best in the business?
As another year in the history in beach volleyball draws to a close, we take a look at the FIVB World Rankings as the curtain comes down on 2017.
We cast our eyes over each team who ended the year in the top 10 – points from which are calculated on eight of each duo’s best results during the past 365 days of digging, diving, serving and spiking – as well as some notable movements in the top 20.
Here are the men’s teams who ended the year inside the top 10 in the world…
1 Evandro/Andre (Brazil) 4,180 points – 2016: n/a
Ending the year on top of the world are the World Champions from Vienna – not bad considering the South Americans only hooked up at the start of the season. The Brazilian began strongly, with silver in Fort Lauderdale, before their historic gold in Austria. They then ended 2017 finishing second at the World Tour Finals. Impressive stuff, boys.
2 Nicolai/Lupo (Italy) 3,920 points – 2016: 11th
Closely behind the Brazilians are Italy’s finest and the 2016 Olympic silver medalists. Despite failing to win a gold on the international stage, their super consistent performances still saw them reach the podium five times, including their first ever Beach Major Series medal with silver in Poreč. They ended the season by retaining their European Championship title before winning bronze at the World Tour Finals in Hamburg.
3 Krasilnikov/Liamin (Russia) 3,900 points – 2016: n/a
Two golds, one silver and one bronze from 11 tournaments was an outstanding return for the Russians in their debut season together on the World Tour. Their highlight was undoubtedly the bronze medal they won at the World Championships in Vienna, having previously claimed gold in tournaments in the Netherlands and Iran.
4 Dalhausser/Lucena (USA) 3,840 points – 2016: 2nd
What would the World Ranking be without these two legendary Americans? The experienced duo’s ranking points are made up of just seven events – the least amount of any other team in the top 10. Among their achievements of 2017 was gold in Gstaad and bronze in Fort Lauderdale but they went on to end the season in grand style by clinching the World Tour Finals crown – beating the new World Champs in the process. Enough said.
5 Alvaro Filho/Saymon (Brazil) 3,760 points – 2016: n/a
The Brazilians began their new partnership with a bang, storming to gold in the Fort Lauderdale Major in February and continued their liking for Beach Major Series tournaments with a bronze medal in Gstaad in July. The likeable duo maintained their consistent level throughout the summer and posted a ninth-place finish at the Hamburg Finals.
6 Kantor/Losiak (Poland) 3,740 points – 2016: 6th
One of the most exciting teams to watch in 2017, the Polish pair were the bridesmaids of the season – finishing runners-up in three tournaments. Their performances in 2017 meant they maintained the same sixth place position in the World Rankings of 12 months ago. One of their silver medals came at the Gstaad Major – their first on the Beach Major Series since 2015. Big things will be expected from these 25-year-olds, who have now been together for the past 10 years. That’s something pretty special.
7 Alison/Bruno (Brazil) 3,340 points – 2016: 4th
The 2016 Olympic Champions had a quiet season by their standards. Did their exploits from the previous season catch up with them? Perhaps, but still, the pair finished in the top 10 in all seven tournaments in 2017 and captured one gold – on home soil in Rio in May. Their only true disappointment came when they failed to land back-to-back World Championship titles, finishing ninth in Vienna – and that meant the Brazilian superstars were unable to defend their World Tour Finals crown.
8 Doppler/Horst (Austria) 3,156 points – 2016: 19th
The 2017 season was one to remember for the experienced Austrian duo, who came mighty close to claiming a fairytale World Championship title on home sand in Vienna. Their silver medal and subsequent ranking points pushed them into the top 10 of the world though, and a season that saw them post several good results including three fifth-place finishes, in The Hague, Poreč and Hamburg, can be looked at with a great deal of pride. Well done guys.
9 Pedro Solberg/Guto (Brazil) 3,100 points – 2016: n/a
These one-season wonders joined forces at the start of the year and then decided enough was enough and went their separate ways once it was over. Their crowning moment came in Poreč when they made history by becoming the first team to win a Beach Major Series tournament after qualifying via the country quota stage.
10 Herrera/Gavira (Spain) 2,800 points – 2016: 8th
Completing the top 10 are the Spanish mainstays of the World Tour, who broke the one million Dollar prize money barrier during the summer. The pair finished just once outside of the top 10 in nine tournaments in 2017, won silver at The Hague in June and finished fifth in the World Championships. Solid stuff from the Spaniards, as ever.
Movers and shakers
Just missing out on a place in the top 10 were Russian 21-year-old stars Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin, who finished fourth in Poreč. They finished just ahead of experienced American duo Hyden/Doherty – who, despite their combined age of 78, won silver in Poland and came fourth in Fort Lauderdale.
It was also a good year for Belgian pair Koekelkoren/Van Walle. With four top 10 finishes to their name, including a ninth in Vienna, they rose from 35th to 14th. Qatar’s Jefferson/Cherif were also on their way up the rankings – moving from 37th place to 19th. Australians McHugh/Schumann also cracked the top 20 together with five top 10 finishes and a gold medal on the World Tour on home sand in Shepparton in May.
This time last year saw Samoilovs/Smedins end 2016 top of the podium but the Latvian pair dropped down to 14th, while Dutch duo Brouwer/Meeuwsen’s injury-hit campaign saw the 2016 Olympic bronze medalists drop down to 16th having ended last year in fifth.
Where did your favorite team end 2017? Click here to find out the full FIVB World Ranking.