Romania Optimistic About Advancing

03 November 2006
By Drew Williams, PA Sport

Romania's number two, Bogdan Bocaniala, firmly believes his team will advance from the group stages of next year's EuroBasket Women's tournament in Italy.

Romania were drawn in Group B alongside Belgium, Germany and Lithuania - avoiding the 'big three' - defending champions Czech Republic, Russia and Spain.

And Bocaniala is confident that will give them a good opportunity to improve on their 12th place finish two years ago in Turkey.

Ildiko Vass (Romania)
Ildiko Vass has emerged as one of Romania's top players.
"It's not a very tough group when you look at the others, but it will not be easy for us to progress in the competition," he said.

"We will try to win every game and we hope to make it through.

"We think that we have a good chance to progress even though it will be very hard.

"Two years ago in Turkey we finished in last place and we definitely want to do better next year in Italy."

Romania must finish in the top three to reach the second group stage and they will start against Germany.

"They are a tough team but we really think that we have a great chance, we faced them in qualification for the 2005 Championships and we won one and lost one," Bocaniala said.

"It will be an open game."

Romania qualified for the tournament by finishing second in Group D behind Serbia, losing just one game in the process.

There is a buzz about basketball in Romania, with the emergence of star players such as Ildiko Vass and Maria Pascalau one of the reasons why.

Each registered more than 13 points per game in qualification.

"Romanian basketball has definitely started to move up," Bocaniala said.

"We've started to produce some really good results in the junior national team which is very promising.

"We hope that women's basketball will go up and up, it's very good because the domestic championship is getting tougher every year and that is great news not only for basketball in our country but for the sport in general."


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