|18 November 2012|
|"Spain are the favourites" said Croatia head coach Jasmin Repesa|
Reigning European champions Spain and Croatia, the second-best (after Italy) team of the 31 that took part in last summer's Qualification Round, were drawn into the same EuroBasket 2013 group on Sunday.
Spaniards and Croats will go up against each other on the opening day of First Round Group C.
They will then do battle on the following days with hosts Slovenia, Poland, Georgia and the Czech Republic.
FIBAEurope.com broke the news to Croatia head coach Jasmin Repesa only minutes after the draw in Postojna Cave had concluded, on Sunday night.
"Listen, [it's a] very tough group here," was Repesa's initial reaction after carefully going through the list of opponents for a few seconds.
"No question that Spain are favourites, Slovenia are playing at home; to be between those teams will be very difficult."
The Croatian tactician wants to have more data available before he can make a more detailed assessment.
"It depends first of all on the roster each team will play with, because it's too early to say something, we have to see which players will play or not," he said.
"Croatia has big aims playing in Slovenia because it's our neighbour and we will have many fans over there, but for sure there is no easy game for us."
There is no easy game in Group C or at the EuroBasket?
"In this group for sure, I haven't seen the other groups yet, for me there in no easy game at the EuroBasket in general."
Repesa saw his team deliver the one good performance after the other in the Qualification Round, where Croatia finished at the top of (coincidentally) Group C with eight wins in as many games.
He is quick though to dismiss this legacy when asked if it's an advantage over others, such as hosts Slovenia, who have not played together since EuroBasket 2011.
"We played without six or seven players that I hope will be at the EuroBasket, it was a different team.
"But our expectations [for the EuroBasket] are high."
Almost on cue, Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo made a very similar to Repesa's first analysis, from Milano.
|"No opponent will be of a low level" says Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo|
"Spain is drawn into a group of medium-high difficulty, no opponent will be of a low level," Scariolo told the official FEB website.
"It's prudent to wait and see which players will play for each national team in order to make a more realistic evaluation," he inadvertently agreed with Repesa.
"It's clear however that Slovenia have lots of quality and with its passionate fanbase on their side they are a formidable team.
"Croatia is being reborn with the arrival of big young talents and the consolidation of other more experienced players.
"Poland is one of the best teams in the European 'middle class' and has important players at its disposal, like Georgia or the Czech Republic, a very decent team from the last pot of seeds that counts with an excellent national league and prime-level players."