2018-12-31 10:00:00 CEST

Vikings end the year on top

It’s fair to say 2018 has been good for Anders and Christian

Anders and Christian celebrate their World Tour Finals goldAnders and Christian celebrate their World Tour Finals gold

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 2018.

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 Mol/Sørum (Norway) 5,960 points

With a doubt 2018 belonged to rising stars Anders and Christian, who fought off all challengers to end the year top of the rankings following a string of high-profile victories. Their glorious golden run began with gold in Gstaad, continued at the European Championships and then in Vienna. The Vikings ended the season with gold at the Hamburg Finals before ending 2018 with another gold to add to their collection in Las Vegas.

2 Brouwer/Meeuwsen (Netherlands) 5,560 points

The Olympic bronze medalists of 2016 enjoyed another consistent year, winning three tournaments including the four-star event in Huntington Beach to be the first European winners of a World Tour event on American sand in over 20 years. Never out of the top 10 during the year, the Dutchmen’s best Major Series result was fourth place in Vienna, where they ran into the form of the Vikings.

3 Samoilovs/Smedins (Latvia) 5,500 points

Latvians beach legends Aleksandrs and Janis rediscovered their form after an injury hit 2017 to enjoy a fine 12 months on the sand. A bronze medal in Fort Lauderdale in March was followed by a string of top-10 finishes before the Europeans bagged another bronze in Warsaw. Their summer was even better as they stormed to the top of the podium to win Espinho in July and then won another gold in Moscow a month later.

4 Kantor/Losiak (Poland) 5,240 points

Together for over a decade, the Polish pair of Piotr and Bartosz continue to be one of the entertaining and consistent teams on the World Tour and their 2018 was no different. The duo finished on the podium five times in 11 tournaments, with their crowning moment a home victory at the four-star event in Warsaw. After finishing ninth and 17th in Gstaad and Vienna respectively, the Poles ended the season with a bronze medal at the World Tour Finals.

5 Herrera/Gavira (Spain) 5,160 points

Another much-loved, long-standing team had happy memories of 2018 in which Adrian and Pablo collected their first gold medal since the 2016 season. The Spaniards took home first prize in Ostrava but bumped into the form of Anders Mol and Christian Sørum in the final in Gstaad, where they had to settle for silver.

Bryl and Fijalek won two silver medals this season - losing twice in finals to the VikingsBryl and Fijalek won two silver medals this season - losing twice in finals to the Vikings

6 Bryl/Fijalek (Poland) 4,920 points

The Poles were another team to curse the form of the invincible Vikings, losing in two finals against the Norwegians, firstly in Vienna and then in the World Tour Finals in Hamburg. However, two silver medals on the highest stage should not be ignored as the pair finished in the top 10 in every event they entered together.

7 Plavins/Tocs (Latvia) 4,660 points

A new team for 2018, the Latvians enjoyed an excellent season on the sand that got off to the perfect start with a gold medal at the four-star event in The Hague in January. The pair then backed that up with a silver medal in Iran and ninth place finishes in Fort Lauderdale, Doha and Ostrava. They ended the summer season in fine form too, reaching the quarterfinals in Gstaad and at the World Tour Finals in Hamburg.

8 Nicolai/Lupo (Italy) 4,600 points

Popular Italians Daniele and Paolo were restricted to just eight events in 2018 but the pair won silver in the first tournament of the season in Fort Lauderdale and their taste for Major Series medals was obvious when they then secured bronze in the Swiss Alps with third place in Gstaad. Although the duo posted a disappointing 17th place in Vienna, they ended the campaign with back-to-back fifth places in Moscow and then in Hamburg.

9 Stoyanovskiy/Velichko (Russia) 4,520 points

This young Russian duo certainly sprang a few surprises in 2018 as Oleg and Igor impressed in their first season on the sand together. They began the year brilliantly, finishing ninth in Fort Lauderdale before winning silver in Doha and then gold in Xiamen. They kept up their consistency throughout the season, returning to the podium on home sand in Moscow when winning bronze – a result good enough to book their spot at the World Tour Finals – their last tournament together before they announced their split in September.

10 Cherif/Tijan (Qatar) 4,440 points

No men’s team in the top 20 played more tournaments than the talented Qatari pair who played no less than 15 events during 2018. They got off to a good start by winning bronze on home sand in Doha in March before flying around the world at various events with varying success. The summer months saw them finish fifth in Espinho and Tokyo before clinching a bronze medal with a memorable victory over Brouwer/Meeuwsen in Vienna.

Movers and Shakers

One of the stories from 2018 was the big shake-up with teams in Brazil, with 2017 World Champs Evandro/Andre and reigning Olympic champions Alison/Bruno among the partnerships going their separate ways. The highest Brazilian team in the World Ranking as 2018 comes to a close was Vitor Felipe and Evandro – in 20th place. Fort Lauderdale Major champions Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser ended 2018 as the highest ranked American teams.

Where did your favorite team end 2018? Click here to find out the full FIVB World Ranking.

New Brazilian pairing Alison and Andre in action in GstaadNew Brazilian pairing Alison and Andre in action in Gstaad

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