|24 August 2012|
|The still unbeaten Italy should be strong favourites against Belarus, who have yet to win a game, but coach Simone Pianigiani says the Friday game is the most complicated for his team in this Qualification Round |
Anyone that has seen Belarus play in their two EuroBasket Qualification Round defeats has every right to think Andrei Krivonos' team is better than its 0-2 record indicates.
Both losses in Group F have been by narrow margins, to the Czech Republic and Turkey.
They're hoping to be a third-time lucky against unbeaten Italy, and the Azzurri coach, Simone Pianigiani, knows it.
"They are worthy opponents and the game is the most complicated one for us so far," Pianigiani said.
"Belarus have lost on details to Turkey and the Czech Republic.
"They were with the Czech Republic, point to point, until two minutes from the end.
"They are players who have physical size with an ability to fill the lane and score."
Making Pianigiani more anxious is the state of his own team.
Despite their unblemished record, the Italians have three players carrying knocks in David Chiotti, Daniel Hackett and Giuseppe Poeta and their availability for the contest may not be known until right before tip-off.
Captain Stefano Mancinelli has also joined the team late in Minsk after staying behind following a death in his family.
"We're obviously in a state of emergency," Pianigiani said, before adding that being able to win in adversity is what separates the good teams from the elite.