Finland Looking to Sparkle in Tests

07 July 2004
By Ross McCullough, PA International

Finland aim to carry momentum into the Under-20 Women’s European Basketball Championships with good results against Poland and Germany next week.

Coach Anu Rajaniemi said: “This group has been together almost six years now and we’re looking to improve on our 11th placing at the Under-18 European Championships in Slovenia.

"This is our best opportunity. I think we could surprise a couple of teams."

The fifth to eighth placing Finland are aiming for at the upcoming European Championships will be difficult, however, with Finland in what Rajaniemi considers the toughest pool. They will take on the likes of Italy, Ukraine, France, Slovakia and Russia.

But the focus for now is on the tests next week against Germany and Poland.

The Finns face Poland on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week before two games against Germany on the Friday and Saturday.

To counter the size difference against the Poles, Rajaniemi says all 14 players in the squad will have to take some responsibility and shoot when given the opportunity.

"I think our team is very small because we don’t have many tall players. It may be okay though, but our other players will have to take shots," she added.

Her only concern heading into the tests is a knee injury to forward Jita Jahilo.

The last time they met Germany at the Under-18 Championships, Finland were victors by 30 points.

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