Battle in the sand: U.S. men to take on Brazil in quarterfinals

A highly anticipated U.S. vs. Brazil beach volleyball showdown will take place in the men’s quarterfinals as Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena prepare to take on Brazil’s Alison and Bruno Schmidt. 

The match will see the two most decorated nations in Olympic beach volleyball history go head-to-head in a fight for a semifinal berth. 

Since the sport’s addition to the Games in 1996, Brazil has claimed 11 Olympic medals, the most of any nation. The U.S. comes in second with nine medals but boast the most gold, six. 

While beach volleyball was created in the United States in the 1920’s, Brazil is credited as the spiritual home of the sport. Second only to soccer in popularity, Brazilian fans have flooded the Copacabana venue to cheer on world-class beach players, an advantage that undoubtedly adds pressure to any opponents of the host nation. 

Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser will be the first U.S. team to face the Brazilians in the elimination round, a matchup that seemed would come no sooner than the Gold Medal Match. 

Dalhausser/Lucena entered the tournament as the third-seeded team and easily won their preliminary pool, maintaining their ranking entering the elimination round. The Brazilian men, however, fell to Austria’s Doppler/Horst in pool play, losing their bracket spot dedicated for the winner of Group A. 

Dalhausser/Lucena are 2-2 against the Brazilians with the U.S men taking the most recent win at the 2016 FIVB Hamburg Major Series.

The biggest Brazilian victory came at the 2015 FIVB World Tour Finals when Alison/Bruno Schmidt swept the U.S. men 21-13, 21-15. Dalhausser/Lucena successfully beat the Brazilian duo in the tournament’s group play round but were unable to top the pair in the finals. 

Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena will play Brazil’s Alison and Bruno Schmidt on Aug. 15.