Germany Wait On Nowitzki News

From PA International, Munich

Dirk Nowitzki
Germany will have to wait and see if star player Dirk Nowitzki will be able to play for them again after their 86-84 defeat to Italy.

The setback knocked the Germans, among a group of favourites to win the European title, out of the championships.

Nowitzki, who has raised the profile of the sport to new heights in his country because of his rise to stardom in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, wants to play for Germany.

But Mavs owner Mark Cuban is not keen on his biggest asset missing rests during the summer.

The seven-footer is essential to the German cause, though, having led them to the semi-finals at the European Championships two years ago and then to a bronze medal last summer in Indianapolis at the World Championships.

But Nowitzki and company crashed out in the elimination round to Italy.

“This is pure disappointment,” said Nowitzki.

“Again we have not taken a massive opportunity and nobody can believe we are already going home.

“I can't say if I will be active for Germany at the next big one, although I probably will. I hope this team will stay together and that we take our chance better in two years’ time.

“It will depend on my employers if I am able to play in qualification games for Germany.

I have not lost the fun of playing for this team yet
Dirk Nowitzki
“I have not lost the fun of playing for this team yet, despite the fact we are out.

“I also can't exclude myself yet for the possibility to play at the 2008 Olympics, but I will be 30 years old by then and of course I can't say yet if I will be there. It's a matter of staying fit and healthy.”

Germany jumped out to a nine-point first-quarter lead and held a seven-point advantage at half-time, but the Azzurri turned the tables in the third quarter when they outscored their opponents 22-13 to lead by a point going into the final frame.

“We should have been leading,” said Nowitzki.

“We have not played in glorious fashion in any of our four games and as a team we have failed at the European Championships.”

Germany opened up their tournament with a win over Israel and then prevailed over Latvia, but their defeat to Lithuania in a final group game had the bye to the side from the Baltics.

Despite playing against an out-of-sorts Italy which only just qualified from the group phase after a narrow win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany lost.

Nowitzki scored 22 points, but as he and the coach have said, Germany did not play as a team.
“Everybody will have to look at themselves,” said Nowitzki.

We have underestimated the tournament
Dirk Nowitzki
“If you concede 90 points in each game at this level, you can't win games.

“We have underestimated the tournament and the fact that we were one of the favourites.

“Suddenly we were the team to beat, and that is just what they all wanted to do.

“In the past few years, we have played well together as a team, but this time it didn't work out. There were no chemistry between us, just like at every other tournament.”

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