LONDON (AP) -- Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann won the beach volleyball gold medal on Thursday night, beating the reigning world champions 23-21, 16-21, 16-14 for the first European title - men's or women's - in a sport that has long been dominated by Brazil and the United States.
One night after an all-American women's final at Horse Guards Parade, the Brazilian fans gave it a Carinval flair - waving their flags, stamping their feet and singing along with the rock music.
But it was the Germans who heard their national anthem wafting over Henry VIII's 500-year-old jousting yard, just a few hours after Latvia beat the Netherlands to take bronze and match Europe's biggest medal haul since the sport was added to the Summer Games in 1996.
Brazil saved three match points after falling behind 14-11. But, needing to win by two in the first-to-15 third set, Germany took a 15-14 lead and then won it when Emanuel's spike landed just wide of the sideline.
The Germans watched the linesman raise the red flag to signal the ball was out, then dropped to the sand to embrace. Even as the gold and silver medalists were announced, Emanuel and Alison continued to point to the spot where the ball landed, arguing that it was in.
The German pair won the 2009 world title and the European championship the past two years. But their credentials could not match those of Emanuel, who won gold and bronze medals with his former partner and was trying to become the first man to win two gold medals on the Olympic beach and the first person to win on the sand with different partners.
He took a gold medal home from Athens and a bronze in Beijing, both times with Ricardo as his partner.
Emanuel's stature in the sport is so outsized that he is known as "The King" and it is his statue that was placed next to American Kerri Walsh Jennings' in St. James's Park to serve as a backdrop for the royal bands in bearskin hats that play for the crowds.
Brazil twice went to set point in the first, but Germany saved them both and took a 22-21 lead when Emanuel's spike went long and wide. Reckermann clinched the set with his shot down the line - just the third set the Brazilians had lost in the whole tournament.
Brazil pulled away in the second to take a 12-7 lead, then held on to force a decisive third set. It was 7-7 in the third when Germany scored two straight points. They made it 12-8 and 13-9 before Brazil made it a two-point game.
Reckermann hit a crosscourt winner to put the Germans one point from victory at 14-1l. But a spike by Alison that knocked the German's hat off saved one match point and Emanuel's ace saved another.
Reckermann spiked one off Alison to make it 15-14, then served for the win. Brazil set up the shot, but Emanuel's spike landed just wide of the purple sideline.
In the bronze medal match, Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins beat the Netherlands earlier Thursday night to win Latvia's first ever beach volleyball medal. The Latvians rallied after a first-set loss to beat Reinder Nummerdor and Rich Schuil 19-21, 21-19, 15-11.
Plavins finished ninth in the Beijing Games with a different partner, beating eventual gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in the opening match of pool play. It was Smedins' first Olympic appearance.
They were talking to reporters in the mix zone after the match when the secretary general of their national delegation handed Smedins a phone. It was Andris Berzins, the president of Latvia, calling to congratulate them on winning Latvia's first medal of the London Games.
"He said he's so happy," Smedins said. "He wished us all the best in the future."