Serbia, Slovenia Hope To Build On Strong Starts

08.09.2009

By Jeff Taylor

Serbia's aim before the EuroBasket was to claim a top-six finish in order to qualify for the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

After Monday's 66-57 upset win against Spain, the Blues might want to set the bar even higher.

Serbia were awesome against Spain.

Dusan Ivkovic's team made life hell for the world champions, contesting every shot and beating Spain to many a loose ball.

When the contest was over, Serbia had come up with 12 steals.

The squad is full of youngsters, yet there was no intimidation against a Spain side that is full of international superstars like Juan Carlos Navarro, Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio.

In Serbia, there is an old joke that has no doubt been used to describe the success of the young Serbia team on Monday.

It goes like this.

Police enter the house of a thief and find hundreds of railroad ties. When they ask the owner of the home where he got them from, he answers: "The children brought them."

The police respond: "For God's sake, how did the children carry 100 kilograms!?"

The man says simply: "What does a child know about 100 kilos ...?"

Slovenia,  meanwhile, will be breathing a sigh of relief after overcoming the injury-forced absences of Matjaz Smodis and Uros Slokar to defeat Great Britain, 72-59.

Erazem Lorbek, plagued by foul trouble in the first half, ended up scoring a game-high 19 points.

If Slovenia had to contend with the impressive frontline of Great Britain, they will encounter a different style against the Serbs whose strength is their quickness and depth.

Last Time Out: Slovenia defeated Great Britain 72-59 and Serbia upset Spain 66-57.

Key Match-up: Goran Dragic v Milos Teodosic. Phoenix Suns reserve Dragic struggled against Team GB but will be one of the quickest players on the floor while Teodosic is coming off a strong game against Spain in which he virtually shut down Rubio.

X-Factor: Goran Jagodnik. The Slovenia veteran has played in the Serbian league and is familiar with many of Tuesday's opponents. He had two big three-pointers in the second half to help fire his team to victory.

Key Stat: Monday's triumph over Spain was Serbia boss Ivkovic's 19th win in as many EuroBasket games as a coach. He won two titles as the coach of the former 'big' Yugoslavia, when the team still had all of the republics including Croatia. In 1995, he also led a 'small' Yugoslavia to the European title when the squad consisted of players from Serbia and Montenegro.

Sounding Off: "This tournament is long so we won't get carried away" - Ivkovic discusses the mindset of his team after the win over Spain


RELATED NEWS

We Meet Again20.09.2009
Slovenia Face Serbia For Spot In Final19.09.2009
Russia Take On Serbia In First Quarter-Final16.09.2009
Lithuania Playing For Pride15.09.2009
Serbia Face Unbeaten Turkey14.09.2009
Poland Open Qualifying Round Against Serbia11.09.2009
One Ticket To Lodz09.09.2009

Advertisement