Umag, the Croatian beach volleyball centre in the last couple of years, will host the Continental Cup 2014, on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June. During the two-day tournament, four men’s and four women’s national teams will compete for their place at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016.
Continental Cup is a new competition offering national teams another opportunity to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016. It consists of three stages: the first stage involves two rounds not participated in by the 8 best ranking national teams. The second stage will be played in 2015 by the 8 best ranking national teams and two highest ranking teams from this year’s tournaments. The third stage will be played in two rounds in 2016.
5 national teams will compete in Umag: the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Denmark and Croatia in the men’s category and Poland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Croatia in the women’s category. The Croatian men’s national team consists of two pairs, Filip Silić/Ivan Zeljković and Nikša Dell'Orco/Mate Glaurdić, and their coach is Tomislav Karaula. The selector of the women’s team, Grga Trimčevski, decided that Croatia would be represented by Martina Matić/Dina Bečić and Dalida Vernier/Maja Roško.
The competition format is as follows: the coach signs up the first and the second team. The first and the second teams play against each other, and in case of a tie, the winner is decided in the Golden match. The coach may choose any team, i.e. player for this match, lending it an additional level of attractiveness. On Sunday, the winning teams of the first day of the tournament will play against each other to get the overall winner who will automatically qualify into the second stage of the competition, one step closer to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016.