Slovenia vs. Finland Preview



Preview by Yarone Arbel

14. Mirza Begic (Slovenia)
Standing 2.16m tall, Mirza Begic could hold the key to Slovenia's success, as Finland simply don't have this kind of size

GROUP F - MONDAY AT 15:30 (14:30 CET)

To have a nightmare and a great dream at the same time is impossible, but when these two collide you can be sure something interesting is going to happen.

The encounter between Finland and Slovenia will mix these experiences as each side will carry one in its pocket.

For Slovenia playing against Finland to avoid the falling between the 9th and 12th spot, in the current situation, is a nightmare.

Finland on the other side need to pinch themselves to believe they are 40 minutes from making the Quarter-Finals of a EuroBasket.

It's strange to say but it's not easy to announce the favorite before this game.

A powerhouse as Slovenia, who came one bucket from winning a medal only two years ago, have lost three games in a row.

Worse than that in the last two games they are playing without energy and chemistry.

Two things that make the difference in their favour usually, and the ones that helped them win four consecutive games at the beginning of the championship.

Finland showed that when things connect for them they can be dangerous for any team.
As long as the score stays close expect two things to go in effect - pressure on Slovenia's side and good momentum on Finland's.

Slovenia will probably try to send a message from the start to avoid these two situations to arise.

Yet Finland isn't a team that gives up easily, and they surely won't give up on such rare chance so quickly.

Head-to-Head: The two teams have met three times already yet the last time was 14 years ago. Slovenia won all three games with the smallest gap being 13 points.

Last Time Out: Slovenia fell against Russia 68-59 and wrote their third defeat in a row. Finland upset Georgia 87-73, their second win in last three games.

Key Match-Up: Erazem Lorbek had only four points in 25% from the floor against F.Y.R. of Macedonia, and he'll have to bounce back from that. On the other side will wait Gerald Lee who's having a good tournament and is the main force of Finland in the paint. If Lorbek outplays Lee Slovenia will be on the way up, but if it's the other way around Finland will be on their way to making history.

Key Stat: Finland hit nine three pointers in 42.9% in the game against Russia, while in their win over Georgia jumped to 13 three pointers in 50%. Maintaining such great accuracy will be very difficult but on the other side wait Slovenia who scored in their last three losses only 16 three pointers in 71 attempts. The arc might play an important role in this battle.

X-Factor: Slovenia's Mirza Begic is a force Finland doesn't have. A 2.16m big guy with a presence under the boards is something the Finns could have trouble handling. Begic is having a good tournament but with ups and downs. If he manages to dominate against the short Finnish roster, Slovenia will have an easier time.

Sounding Off: "Where's Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Georgia? They are all at home now because Finland finished ahead of them. If we don't want to go home like these teams we can't under estimate them," says Goran Jagodnik of Slovenia.


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