Russia Face Stern Eurobasket Women Test

28 January 2005

Russia may be the current European champions and favourites to retain their title in 2005, but they were left rueing their draw for Eurobasket Women 2005.

Assistant coach Valeri Lunichkin said: "Group B is a very strong group and we are playing countries like Turkey, Spain and Romania - it is not the very best draw for us.

"But we hope for the best and we must be practical."

Spain spokesman Jose Montero admitted his team had ended up in the wrong group.

"It is a challenging draw," he said. "We have a group that is very difficult but for us we have to play the toughest teams.

"Russia is obviously the toughest game because they are the  champions of Europe and also Serbia & Montenegro will be difficult.

"We want to get into the knockout stages and even to the final if we can."

Romania head coach Carmel Branisteanu said: "I am not very pleased because our group is very strong - we have Turkey the hosts and the champions

Russia. It's a very strong group - the toughest group for the tournament. It will be very difficult for Romania."

Germany head coach Olaf Stolz admitted: "I think we are lucky to be in Group A because the B group is horrible - Turkey's group is a horrible group.

Germany are back in the European championships after a six-year absence.

Stolz added: "For six years we have been waiting - our goal is to get to the quarter-finals. That would be a great success and at least we are here for the first time after six years. We must take it as it is.

"I think four teams have a very good chance - they are Russia, the Czech Republic, Spain and France."

Greek delegate Costas Pataboukas said: "For the Greek team I think this was a good draw and for Turkey it is a difficult one.

"But we have some tough matches as well because we must play Germany, the Czech Republic, Latvia and France.

"The European championships will be very hard and every game will be a tough one.

"However, I think we have a good chance to get through and then do as well as we can. We have a good platform and we must believe in the team and we must really ensure we have a good team on the court.

"We want to get as good a place as possible and that means we must try as hard as we can."

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