|13 December 2011|
|Oguz Savas's reaction at the end of Turkey's last game in Lithuania this September speaks volumes about their dissapointing EuroBasket 2011 campaign. |
A couple of national teams hoping to return to the 24-team tournament are Turkey and Portugal.
Turkey, runners-up when hosting the 2010 FIBA World Championship, were one of the biggest disappointments at the EuroBasket in Lithuania after coming up short of the Quarter-Finals.
Portugal made it safely through the Additional Qualifying Round to reach the EuroBasket but then lost all five of their games.
Both countries have looked ahead to qualifying.
Turkey and Portugal will be in Group F with Italy, the Czech Republic and Belarus.
Harun Erdenay, the Turkey team manager, is very confident his team will be at the EuroBasket in Slovenia.
"Only Italy has the power to compete with us," he said.
"I hope to be the leader of the group."
As for Portugal, Carlos Andrade spoke to Basketball World News about the challenges ahead.
"It will be tough, even though I know very little about both the Czech Republic and Belarus," he said.
"We are now older, and I think that it is necessary to have some changes in the squad.
"We almost took to Lithuania the same squad that played at EuroBasket 2007, which was good, but the squad needs a freshening up.
Joao Gomes "Betinho" and Nuno Cortez missed EuroBasket 2011 due to injury.
"Those two players, if in good shape, are the youth the national team will benefit from in the near future," Andrade said.
Andrade is eager to see young players break into the squad.
Portugal finished fifth at the U20 European Championship Division B this year.
"FAB (The Portuguese Basketball Federation) is looking for immediate results, rather than long-term projects," he said.
"I think time and patience are necessary.
"I know the U20 national team has been working well, and they deserve all our support."