|04 August 2012|
|Elif Emirtekin had 22 points for Turkey in their overwhelming victory over Croatia on Saturday |
Turkey and Spain will renew their rivalry in the fifth-place game of the U18 European Championship Women and battle it out to secure the coveted last remaining spot for the U19 World Championship Women next summer.
Recent form hints at the Sunday encounter being a much closer affair than the first meeting between the teams in the Second Round, when Spain cruised to a convincing 78-53 success.
The pressure had looked to be on Turkey ahead of their clash with fellow quarter-final losers Croatia, since the Turkish players had to pick themselves up from a stomach-churning double-overtime loss against the Dutch.
However, despite their disappointment, Turkey took out their frustration on the Croatians with a stunning 92-43 victory in a surprisingly one-sided contest.
Croatia may have scored the first five points of the game but once Turkey got into a rhythm there was no stopping them.
By half-time, they led 45-16 and realistically, the game was over as a meaningful contest.
Forward Elif Emirtekin racked up 22 points and was one rebound short of a double-double for the winning team.
Spain bounced back from their arguably surprise loss to Serbia in the last eight, although only just, as a late surge helped them to a 75-61 win over Italy.
Elena De Alfredo hit 27 points against a resilient Italian team who were in the game until the latter stages, when they ran out of gas.
Despite the victory, too many turnovers and influential top scorer Maria Arrojo, who is nursign an injuty, managing only 11 seconds on court marred the night a little for Spain.
Head coach Miguel Mendez knows his team will have to improve if they want to overcome a Turkey team who is no doubt fuelled not only by the prospect of a potential place at the World Championship in Lithuania next summer, but also avenging their loss from earlier in the competition.
Italy will now contest seventh spot with Croatia.