|30 July 2009|
Belgium coach Daniel Goethals watched his team slump to a worrying 72-55 loss against reigning champions Spain and admitted that his team knew a Spanish storm was coming but couldn't stop it.
"I knew this was going to be a very difficult game, especially after winning against Spain by 25 points only ten days ago."
"I warned my team to expect a big reaction and maybe I did not warn them enough because a 17 point loss is a bit too much for me."
"They have a longer bench and made a lot of shots so our defence was in trouble at key moments in the game which hurt us."
"We now know that we need to win our last two games - that is definitely an obligation for us right now."
Both teams struggled offensively in a keenly contested first quarter with Belgium gaining heart from Spain missing several easy looks, even if they did shade matters 13-12 going into the second.
As the Belgians feared, the favourites soon found an extra gear and opened up the second period with an ominous looking 10-2 tear. The Spanish class no better highlighted than a great spin move in the post by guard Yurena Diaz who completed a three-point play with the bonus free throw.
After she drained a triple to get her team-mates off up off the bench in appreciation, it was clear that Belgium were destined to spend the remainder of the first half hanging tough.
Coach Goethals knew that his team needed to keep calm under intense Spanish pressure just to keep themselves in the game and his team duly obliged by heading into the locker room 35-29 behind but far from disheartened.
That feeling of hope unfortunately quickly evaporated as Spain began to ease away. In fact they over ran the Belgians in the second half scoring both inside and out with Elena De Alfredo, Carla Rodriguez and Yurena Diaz sharing 46 points in the game.
Contenders take note, after just forty minutes of action, Spain already look like they have the necessary weapons to retain their title.