In the semifinal matches of the men's Olympic beach volleyball tournament, both Norway and the Russian Olympic Committee defeated their opponents in straight sets. Expect a close game for gold, as commentators described the upcoming matchup between the Norwegians the Russians as "a real humdinger of a contest."
Latvia and Qatar, which lost their respective semifinal games, will face off in the bronze medal match.
Norway outplays Latvia at the net
Any attempt to stop Anders Mol was futile, as the Norwegian beach volleyball player had an answer to everything his opponents hit his way.
Playing alongside Christian Sorum, Mol was an absolute menace at the net, recording 10 blocks on the 42 total points the Norwegian pair scored in their 2-0 victory over Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs of Latvia.
Mol and Sorum had the advantage from the jump, as they took a 5-1 lead in the first set. Palvins and Tocs hung around for a bit but ultimately fell 21-15. The second set was much of the same when the Norwegians won three consecutive points to build a 9-5 lead. Tocs managed to save one match point but couldn't hold off another, and the team representing Norway advanced to the gold medal match for the first time in Olympic history.
ROC edges out Qatar
In a matchup between two top-ranked teams, either could have advanced to the finals. The best way to predict which pair is more likely to come out on top is by keeping track of who wins Set 1. The teams have faced off six times, and in all those games the pair that won the first set ultimately emerged victorious.
The ROC and Qatar spent most of the first set tied, but Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy broke away on the final two points to win 21-19. This foreshadowed the final result, as Qatar's Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan fell behind early in Set 2 and played catchup for most of the game.
Two services fault and a net touch hampered Qatar's comeback, and the Russians took advantage of their opponents' sloppy play to snag the 21-17 win and wrap up the match.
None of the teams that earned medals in Rio advanced to the semifinals.