Host With The Most?

03.10.2007

By Yarone Arbel

This game between Italy and Belarus on Wednesday is about making history happen or at least happen again.

In the first game of the last day in Group E Italy and Belarus will go head-to-head to decide who goes to the final round and who starts to plan their next campaign.

A one point win would be enough, that's one very important point. 

Anastasiya Veremeenko (Belarus)
Veremeenko's match-up with Ress could be key.
Two years ago Belarus was still playing in Division B.

Now, already in their first ever EuroBasket performance, they have a chance to make it to the final eight and get a shot at a spot in the semi-finals.

For the hostess Italy this is their first EuroBasket since 1999, but their last visit in the final round was back in 1995.

Italy has already showed they are more than worthy for the free pass they got as the hosting team.

With big support from the local fans who will fill every seat in the Ortona gym, Italy will fight their best to give them what they want.

Belarus already showed they enjoy the underdog position, and can match almost any team here.

Down the stretch this game will be decided in favor of the team who wants it more.

Last Time Out: Italy celebrated a big 64-43 win over Serbia that kept them alive in the race for the quarters. Belarus lost to Russia 87-73 after a much bigger difference during the second half.

Head to Head: This is the first time these teams have met at EuroBasket Women.

Key Match Up: Kathrin Ress and Anastasiya Veremeenko will probably need to limit the other in this game. Veremeenko missed only four shots out of 28 attempts so far in the competition, a well deserved challenge for one of Italy's best defenders – Kathrin Ress.

X-Factor: Italy have done a good job containing their opponents three-point shooting. Against Belarus, who nail about seven a game, they'll need to do it again. Nataliya Trafimava is one of the best shooters of Belarus and she can draw some size out of the paint with her. If she hits them Italy could be in trouble.

Statistics: This is another battle of styles. Belarus likes it big. They run a lot, they score a lot and in better percentages. They steal, assist, block and lose balls more often than Italy. If Italy drags Belarus down to their tough and slow style, it's going to be a long afternoon for Belarus.

What It Means: What more can you ask for? The winner of the game will advance to the next round. The loser is going home.


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