Who says new day of competitions at EuroBasket says eliminated teams, those who will not see the summit of European basketball and who can already be accompanied to the airport. So it’s time to go home for Slovenia and Italy, but not without a little review of their achievements over the past fortnight. Let’s go!
10:30 p.m. last night. It takes a few moments to realize what has just happened before our eyes. Poland, expected as a simple outsider, has just offered the reigning European champion. No more EuroBasket for Slovenia, no more EuroBasket for Luka Doncic and this early exit sounds like a huge failure. Candidate for its own succession, Slovenia had however the weapons to seek the back-to-back but it was very difficult to recognize the team which thrilled us so much at the last Olympic Games. More than a team, we especially had the impression of seeing a one-man show by Luka Doncic, devilishly efficient but often forced to do everything to save his people. This was the case against France in the pool, as well as against Belgium in the round of 16. The question seemed obvious: what would happen the day the Don ‘went down? Bingo was last night against Poland. Totally on the pick-up at the start of the match, and trailing by 23 points (!), the Slovenians will nevertheless pass close to the miracle scenario by returning to -3. In vain … It’s Ponitka and his friends who will join the Blues in the semi. The defending champion leaves by the small door.
They may accompany Luka Doncic and the Slovenes towards the exit, the Italians will not have to be ashamed of their Euro. Deprived of their best player, Danilo Gallinari, the Squadra Azzurra did better than get by this fortnight. Inconstant on its own soil, Italy regaled on the side of Berlin. This is indeed one of the paradoxes of our friends at La Botte. Everyone announced them screwed against the Serbs, they reacted with a magnificent performance, full of pride and aggressiveness, sending Nikola Jokic and his friends on vacation. We also wondered if our Blues were not going to suffer the same fate as the Serbs but Simone Fontecchio, yet so strong in this match and on this Euro, cracked at the worst of times. What no doubt have some regrets at the time of the final bell and there will probably be more if the Blues go all the way this weekend. The boiling Gianmarco Pozzecco and his family will therefore be able to focus on qualifying for the 2023 World Cup from now on. At the head of their group tied with Spain, the Nazionale has a good chance of seeing Asia next year but it will be necessary to negotiate the last meetings to avoid any scares, in particular a double confrontation with La Roja. That promises!
Slovenians and Italians are packing their bags and heading back home, but something tells us that both harbor deep regrets. What to come back with the crocs in a year at the World Cup? This is all the evil we wish them.