Greece And Croatia Face Must Win

09.09.2007

By David Hein

Defending champions Greece find themselves in the strange spot of desperately needing a victory as they face off in Group E against Croatia.

The Greeks have stumbled to two straight losses for a 1-2 record and could drop to fifth place in the six-team group (only the top four advance to the quarter-finals) with a loss and an Israel victory.

Croatia meanwhile are 2-1 and still have their destiny in their own hands, though they have to bounce back from their loss to Israel two days ago.

Jasmin Repesa
After a tough loss to Israel Jasmin Repesa hopes his team is motivated against Greece.
Last time out:
Croatia's hearts were broken as they allowed Israel to beat them 80-75 just two nights after shocking world champions and tournament hosts Spain.

Greece meanwhile were thrashed by Spain 76-58 and crucially need a victory to remain in the hunt to defend their 2005 crown.

Key matchup: Davor Kus vs. Greece star point guard Theodoros Papaloukas.

The Croatia point guard will need to work hard defensively to disrupt the Greeks' attack.

Croatia have been able to shoot 34% from the three-point stripe, but they've given up at least 80 points in three of their four games.

X-Factor: Greek playmaker Theodoros Papaloukas has admitted that he has struggled with his form thus far and needs to pick up his game.

He also promised that he will start helping his side more starting against Croatia.

Stats: The famed Greek passing game is not yet in sync, as the European champions have averaged just nine assists over their first four games. Greek playmaker Dimitrios Diamantidis has made just five of 18 three-pointers (28%).

Sounding off: "Coach is always worried. Even if you win you worry because if something goes well you're thinking about your next move. The most important thing is to keep your mind cool and your senses clear, remember that the target is to qualify. For me, it's like the runner who is thinking about the end, maybe he's gonna get tired." -Greece coach Panagiotis Yannakis

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