On the way to the knockout phase of EuroBasket 2015. the Croatian national team will collide with Zagreb, Greece, Macedonia, the Netherlands and Georgia in a row in Zagreb.
That was the choice of the Croatian Basketball Association. They wanted to have Slovenia in the group, which guaranteed the sale of more thousands of tickets for the matches of the western neighbors. Slovenes had the same effect two years ago when Croatia in Celje overcame a national team led by Božo Maljkovic and NBA star Goran Dragić. Two years later Slovenes come back but with important changes. The menu is Jure Zdovc, a man of similar basketball looks like the Croatian menu Velimir Perasovic.
Zdovc left for this championship without Goran Dragić and no star in the team. The closest to this status is Goran's younger brother Zoran. But Zdovc has a compact team, physically capable of opposing anybody. The possible lack of creativity compensates for aggression. There is no doubt that their defeat from Celje will be an additional motive.
The 3-2 for the Slovenes is one of the two major competitions. And that's something about how dangerous they are.
A team featured by experts in the longest medals favorite, along with France, Serbia and Spain. They know how to conquer the medals, the last time they were on the podium were 2009. in Poland, where they won the bronze. Vasilis Spanoulis once had to do the same, as he did when he fired Olympiakos up to two European titles. Today is no longer the case.
Roko Ukić will say that Greece has ten players who could be in each national team. Fotsis Katsikaris has set up a system in which Spanoulis and the famous Greek pick are not the only option. The names of young Giannis Antetokounmpa, middle-aged players such as Calathesa, Papanikolau or Kufus, and experienced Zisisa, Bourusis, Pritezis, Perperoglou are the proof of the width that the Greeks have.
There are 5-5, but four Croatian wins are from the time when Velimir Perasović was still a player. In recent times, Croatia only managed to beat Greece just two years ago in Slovenia.
With Perom Antić and Boom McCalebb, Makedons would be a big bite. Without them you still have to see how the team that was one of the most beautiful stories of the 2011 EuroBasket will work. in Lithuania, where the Macedonians won the fourth place, and in their country they were welcomed as if they were European champions.
The Macedonians were preparing a shift on the election bench, to which Marijan Srbinovski came for Aleksandar Djigic. The basic quality of his team is the experience and the fact that they are not burdened with high expectations such as two years after Lithuania in Slovenia, where they ended up at 21. place. They can be dangerous if they get shot. Richard Hendriks is a replacement for McCalebb as a foreigner but in a central position, where Macedonia is more deficient than outside positions.
3-1 is in talks with each other for Croatia, but it is still the defeat of Lithuania's 2011. who pushed Macedonia into a fight for medals, and left Croatia captured in the first round.
The Dutch returned to EuroBasket for the first time after 1989. year and destiny wanted to come back to Zagreb again. Prior to the 26 years they won the last, eighth place, and similar status in this year's EuroBasket, where every single win for them was a big win. However, it is alarming that they have managed to qualify for EuroBasket, winning second place in the group with Israel, Montenegro and Bulgaria, defeating Montenegrins in both games at home and in Podgorica.
Toon Van Helfteren has the greatest strength in the outside line, Captain Arvin Slagter, Worthy De Jong, Charlon Kloof and veteran Kees Akerboom, and the center line is led by internationals Robin Smeulders and Henk Norel, who have not played in qualifications.
In cross-country duels, Croatia runs 4-0, but with the Dutch in the official matches, Croatian basketball players have not met since 1999. years.
Menu Igor Kokoškov has at his disposal an experienced team that has been very dangerous for Croatia two years ago in Slovenia. It was just a difficult election victory in this duel that started Croatia in the fight for medals and changed the atmosphere in and around the national team.
Georgia was in Slovenia without Zaze Pačulija and Tornika Šengelija, and they will have them in Zagreb. Pawuli has a great season in Milwaukee Bucks, and after his NBA experience in Brooklyn, Shengeli was excited at Kutxi Laboral, where Velimir Perasovic would be welcomed by EuroBasket. The outer line with Cincadia, Markoisvili and Sanikidze will be a threat to every defense. Georgia has the quality that it can afford to pass to the second round.
The Djuko Celje, in which the Croatian basketball players lost their victory, was the only official match between Georgia and Croatia.