Italy Look To Bounce Back

04.09.2007

By Cindy Garcia-Bennett

Italy will be looking to bounce back from Monday's bitter 69-68 defeat against Slovenia when they meet France on day two of the EuroBasket.

A Jaka Lakovic three-pointer at the buzzer stunned the Italians, who had failed to get out of first gear in the first half but made a strong comeback late in the fourth quarter to give themselves a chance to win the game.

Azzurri coach Carlo Recalcati will need big performances from promissing stars Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli, who were kept in check by Slovenia.

Key Match-up: Italian guard Belinelli will be eager to get this game out of the way, going up

Tariq Kinte Kirksay (France)
Tariq Kinte Kirksay had a
solid game in France's opener
against international superstar Tony Parker. This will be a sweet preview of future NBA battles.

Last time out: Not since August 2006, in a friendly in Berlin, have these two teams played each other. In that game the Italians beat France 79-65. However, in the 2003 EuroBasket, Les Bleus won their two games against today's opponents.

Statistics: Italy must improve their three-point shooting after making just four of 22 (19%) against Slovenia. France were outrebounded 36 to 32 in their opener against Poland and know they will face a battle on the boards from Recalcati's men. Keeping their turnovers down to a minimum and getting off to a good start in the game will be crucial if Italy wish to upset France.

X-factor: It will be interesting to see how Italy react to Monday's defeat. The Azzurri have shown this summer, they are able to overcome adversity and come up with the goods when they are under pressure.

Speaking out: "Although we have not played against Italy this summer, we have seen some of their games. Italy is a very strong team but if we play our game we should be ok. The two players to look out for are Marco Belinelli and Matteo Soragna. We know how important this game is for us as it is for them." - France guard/forward Boris Diaw.


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