Portugal U20 Women Must Maintain 'Focus'

06 July 2008

Portugal finished their preparation for the upcoming U20 European Championship Women Division B by splitting a pair of friendlies with the Netherlands in Lisbon.

They lost the opener to the Dutch 65-59 but hit back to claim a 64-57 triumph on Thursday night against the same opponents.

Portugal's coach Eugenio Rodrigues said to FIBA Europe: "The last game helped me to realize some of our low points.

"Our main difficulty is the lack of international games, given our logistics and financial issues.

"These sort of games helped us measure our competitive level. We use these games to correct some mistakes, but after this preparation, we still have some aspects of the game to correct.

"Being permanently focused on the game is one of the aspects we have to work on."

Portugal will be travelling to Poznan, Poland, for the U20 event next week with an aim in their minds.

"We want at least third place," Rodrigues said.

Portugal are drawn in the Group B along with hosts Poland, Sweden, Israel and the Netherlands.

"Poland as host nation have many factors in their favour, namely the crowd," Rodrigues said.

"And they are a team of Division A level.

"Sweden have a group of players that finished second at the U19 World Championship last summer. They seem to be very competitive.

"The Netherlands and Israel are teams within our reach. We are all very similar teams."

With average height of 1.77m, Portugal are not the tallest of teams. Most important for him, he says, is that his "players are very motivated".

"Israel won a Division B European Championship with not a very tall team."

After weeks of training camps and two warm-up games, Rodrigues could have Joana Bernardeco, Nadia Tavares, Luiana Livulo, Larisse Lima and Catarina Caldeira in his starting line-up.

Portugal squad for U20 European Championship for Women: Nadia Tavares, Luiana Livulo, Larisse Lima, Catarina Caldeira, Ana Catarina Rodrigues, Barbara Pedro, Cátia Lirio, Márcia Costa, Sara Djassi, Rosinha Rosário and Solange Neves.

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