|23 June 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Stopping Frida Eldebrink (left), will be key for a Slovak Republic victory|
By Paul Nilsen
Slovak Republic and Sweden lock horns on the final day of the second round in Lille, knowing the winner will stand a chance of making the final phase of the tournament and having a shot at a FIBA World Championship spot.
Last Time Out: A third quarter no-show cost Slovak Republic dearly, as they fell behind against Italy and could not repair the damage as they slipped to a 58-47 defeat. Sweden posted an inspiring first-half against Turkey, but faded and eventually lost 72-51.
Key Match Up: Guarding Frida Eldebrink will be essential and presumably Slovak Republic leader Lucia Kupcikova will take up that role, even if she often takes small forwards at the defensive end. A quiet game for Eldebrink will mean Sweden have to find other scorers and it would perhaps stop the scoreboard ticking over as quickly as it does when she is given space to exploit.
Key Stat: Slovak Republic are the only team remaining in the competition who average more than 20 turnovers-per-game.
X-Factor: Sweden probably need to find their three-point shooting game to really get on the front foot, whilst this is the last opportunity for Slovak Republic to show they can actually take care of the ball and make things a little easier for themselves.
From The Camps:
"Our problem at this very highest level, is that fighting and playing defence isn't quite enough. It is okay against the second ten teams in Europe, but not the very top teams. We don't have enough players for this stage because they [the current payers] get problems in their heads when they keep missing shots" - Slovak Republic play-caller Ivan Vojtko offers a candid assessment of his team.
"I am confident for two reasons - the main reason is that we are in good shape and the format of the tournament gives us a day of recuperation between the games. Secondly, this team has the ability to bounce back after losses and we are confident we can do that again" - Swedish coach Lars Johansson on his teams' prospects of beating Slovakia.