By Yarone Arbel
The first game in Group F play will feature hostess Italy and the undefeated team Spain.
With massive support from the local fans Italy will try to upset the favourites from Spain, in hope of collecting their first win in this stage and start a journey to the quarter-finals.
Italy showed against Russia they can put up a fight even against the best teams here,
while Spain won two of their games in double-digit margin.
|Amaya Valdemoro is Spain's leading scorer at 14.7 points per game.|
Perhaps the best way to describe what's at stake here is a quote from Spain's star Amaya Valdemoro: "We need a win against them to qualify for the quarter finals
while Italy need a win to have any hopes of progressing to the next round."
"They will have more pressure than us in this game."
Last Time Out: Italy lost to France 64-48 while Spain maintained their perfect record with a 63-52 win over Croatia.
Head to Head: It has been 20 years since Spain beat Italy in EuroBasket. That was also the only time they have managed to prevail against the Italian side in seven games. Nothing will be sweeter than breaking the streak on Italian soil.
Key Match Up: Amaya Valdemoro is everything for Spain. After three games she's the top scorer, rebounder and passer for her team. She will take on Laura Macchi who leads Italy in points and rebounds. Both can collect points close and far from the rim. Both showed up for all the first three games of their teams. If one doesn't show up for this one, it will be interesting to follow how their teams respond.
X-Factor: Francesca Zara is one of the best defenders Italy have. In order to stop the Spanish offense Zara will have to step up in this game against Elisa Aguilar and the other Spanish guards who will try to make the difference.
Statistics: While Spain is scoring 72.7 ppg so far Italy is standing on 56 per game. The Spanish team is scoring more and in higher percentage than their next opponent and that will be an interesting thing to track during this meeting.
What It Means: With a win Spain can secure their spot in the quarter-finals, while Italy must start to gather some wins if they want to continue to play in the final round in Chieti.