The knockout phase of the European Basketball 2022 kicked off yesterday at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. The Italy of coach Gianmarco Pozzecco has achieved the minimum goal of its continental path by overcoming its home group, but the fourth place obtained forced her to a really difficult pairing with Serbia, one of the absolute favorites for the maximum laurel.
We are not the ones who discover that the roster of Svetislav Pesiccoach also seen in our latitudes when he led Virtus Roma until the early stages of the 2006/2007 season, is chock full of talent: five victories in a row with an average gap of 21 points trimmed to the opponents and two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets as a lighthouse, scoring 19.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per shoe so far.
A match that therefore appears without history for the Azzurri, but it had to be the same in July 2021, when the two selections met in Belgrade to compete for access to the Tokyo Olympics. It was one of the brightest evenings in the recent history of Italian basketball: even then Meo Sacchetti’s team was without his so-called star, finding strength from an Achille Polonara sniper from the bow with 6/8 from three points and the great tests of Nico Mannion and the usual Simone Fontecchio.
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Sure, Serbia didn’t have Jokic at the time, but they still had a head spinning roster with a certain Milos Teodosic to lead the attack and Boban Marjanovic, one who at Fiba level makes the difference, under the planks. Italy played that match without awe, openly and at a high pace, totaling 102 points against the 95 of the opponents; it will take another game with the same chutzpah of that July 4, 2021 to be able to dream of access to the quarter-finals.CopyAMP code