Baku, June 19, AZERTAC
Switzerland emerged at the top of a chaotic Pool B in the men's Beach Volleyball competition on Friday morning as Spain were eliminated in extraordinary fashion.
With all four pairs entering their final pool match with a 1-1 record and three spots in the knockout stages up for grabs, any combination of teams could have progressed.
The Swiss pair of Alexei Strasser and Gabriel Kissling guaranteed their progression by defeating Ukraine's Oleh Plotnytskyi and Oleksii Denin 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) on court three.
"We knew we could win the group even though it is our first time playing together," said Strasser. "We had a bad start – not just losing the game (against Spain) but really badly. After that it was like, 'Let’s stay in the tournament'."
The loss to Switzerland left the Ukrainian pair sweating on the result of the match between Spain's Francisco Javier Tomas Cuadrado and Cesar Menendez Ortego and Poland's Maciej Kosiak and Maciej Rudol.
A Spanish win over Poland would have seen them win the group on a tiebreak, by virtue of their victory against the Swiss. But Spain's 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-13) defeat by the Poles saw them finish last, with the Ukrainians qualifying in third place.
"I have strange feelings," said Cuadrado. "We played on a spectacular centre court, it was a beautiful match that went to a tie-breaker and we lost just 15-13."