Saturday, 16 January 2010

Eurobasket 2011 qualifying draws - LIVE

The Eurobasket 2011 qualifying and 2010 European Championships draw from Munich - live Blog on the fate of Great Britain, England, Scotland and Wales.

Great Britain's men's coach Chris Finch on the campaign
"We may have been seeded in the second pot for the draw but that didn't mean we took anything for granted. Make no mistake Division A is tough and perhaps last time we took people by surprise because we were a relatively unknown quantity, but now, we have been exposed to more top-level European basketball.

"Last year everyone said we were drawn in the group of death at the Europeans and yes, it was tough, but particularly against Spain we stepped up and raised our game. And that's what we will have to do this summer.

"With everyone available and the ability to prepare for this campaign correctly, I see no reason why we can't be one of the main contenders for qualifying."

GB women's Head coach Tom Maher on his team's chances
"At this level every team is tough, that is the nature of the competition. Britain played six of the 18 teams in the draw in the last round of qualifying so we know what to expect.

Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Germany will provide us with stiff opposition but I am encouraged by how the group of players I had last summer got on, both in training in Manchester and then at the World University Games, where we surprised a few people.

"I'm confident that with another good camp this year, and a fully fit roster available, we will be in a good position to challenge these three/four countries, and that's exactly what we need to do to stay on track for London 2012."

16:15 Group B: GREAT BRITAIN, Macedonia, Bosnia, Hungary and Ukraine.
It was never going to be an easy route to the finals in Lithuania 2011 for Chris Finch's men but - pending Luol Deng's availability - it's an achieveable feat, having avoided Italy and Montenegro. Lots of air miles though. Those qualifiers on a home and away basis in August.

Remember, Finch's side will take on the Bosnians for the second successive Eurobasket qualifying campaign. In 2008 GB won at the NIA in Birmingham, although they lost the return fixture in Bosnia. The team also took on Macedonia last summer in a friendly, where despite a roster stripped of their key players due to injury and illness, they only lost 78-67.

The draw in full:
Group A: Latvia, Israel, Finland, Italy, Montenegro
Group B: Macedonia, Great Britain, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Hungary, Ukraine
Group C: Poland, Bulgaria, Belgium, Portugal, Georgia
(Group winners and best two runners-up qualify for finals)

16:05 Eurobasket 2011 qualifiers Senior Women. Division A. Group D: GREAT BRITAIN, Slovakia, Germany and Ukraine. Yup, it's the Germans again for Tom Maher's side who, lest we forget, needed a special exemption to stay in Division A. One of the tougher draws too.

In the last Eurobasket qualifying campaign, GB recorded their only win of the summer against Germany when Johannah Leedham's winning basket sealed a 61-59 victory, but they agonising lost in Cardiff 74-72 in the return fixture. That same campaign the GB basketball team almost got their campaign off to a great start with a win over Ukraine but lost narrowly 59-54 and were there defeated 80-73 in Cardiff.

The draw in full:
Group A: Italy, Lithuania, Croatia, Belgium, Netherlands
Group B: Latvia, Israel, Serbia, Romania
Group C: Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, Montenegro
Group D: Slovak Republic, Ukraine, Germany, Great Britain
(Top two in each group qualify for finals)

15:50 A far-too-long commercial break before the senior draws. In the meantime, we can tell you that Worcester Wolves have signed 6'10" Lithuanian centre Giedrius Knysas. Petroslav Zafirov has been released. The Bulgarian now with more clubs than Tiger Woods behind him.

FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos has addressed the assembled masses with a plea for sanity going forward.

"I can say that today we no longer have distinct Eastern and Western Federations as in the past," he said. "Today we have European Federations, of course with important differences at the sports of financial level, but with, more and more, the same mentality, the same approach to the principals and values of our sport!

"To close my comments today, I would like to point out that as of the first of December of last year the new treaty on the European Union has entered into force. This treaty contains specific reference to sport, that I do hope, will allow the sports movement to finally obtain, after many years of efforts, the official recognition of the specificity of sport, and the special link between sport and society."

15:35 It's Men, Division C. Group A: WALES, Andorra, Moldova and Gibraltar. Group B: SCOTLAND, Malta, Denmark and San Marino.
Scotland came third last time out in Edinburgh in 2008. Wales were in the bottom two and saved by the judges from elimination.

15:33 Eurobasket women, Division C. Group B: SCOTLAND, WALES, Malta, Azerbaijan. That's in Yerevan, Armenia from June 28-July 3.

15:29 Eurobasket Under-16 Women, Division C. SCOTLAND, Malta and Monaco in the first round. An entire continent exhales.

15:25 My bad. How could we have forgotten the Under-16, Division C draws? Shame on us, especially as the Welsh are involved here. On the men's side, Group A has SCOTLAND, WALES, Andorra and Monaco. All off to Andorra and every one of them grateful to have avoided San Marino in the first round.

15:15 Anyone got draw fatigue yet? Just the senior draw and the mighty Division C to come. GB in Division A for men and women. Fixtures to be played on an home and away basis this summer for the right to qualify for Eurobasket 2011. Lest anyone is wondering where Ireland are - they've yanked their senior programme due to budgetary restrictions. A lot of unhappy folk over that decision.

15:10 Under-20 Men, Division B. Group C: GREAT BRITAIN, Belgium, Austria and Denmark. Tim Lewis will be happy with that one. This tournament's in Gissing and Oberwart, Austria from July 14-24.

15:05 Under-20 Women, Div B. GREAT BRITAIN, Macedonia, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic. Tough one this for GB. They're off to Kavadarsi, in Macedonia, July 15-25.

15:02 The Under-20 men draw coming up. Who will Tim Lewis and Damian Jennings be plotting against, this summer?

So that's the home countries sorted. Now for Great Britain following a short break at the Marriott Munchen.

14:40 Under-18 Men. ENGLAND, Romania, Denmark, Belarus, Israel in one group. SCOTLAND, Belgium, Portugal, Bosnia, Hungary in another. July 22- August 1 in Tel Aviv for your diary.

14:40 They're onto the Under-16 Men. Div B. ENGLAND get Ireland, Belarus, Czech Republic and Slovakia in their group. That's in Tallinn, Estonia, 5-14 August.

14:30 Under-18 Women. A corker this... ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, Finland, Estonia and Bulgaria, bound for Timisoara, Romania, 28 July - 8 August. Instant reaction from Scotland head coach, Donnie Finnie. "Ouch."

14:15 local time They're starting with Under-16 Women. Division B. ENGLAND, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia all going to Skopje, 12-22 August.

14:00 Formalities first in Munich. There's a total of 285 teams in 20 FIBA Europe competitions will enter the draw, apparently. No frozen balls here.


1 comment: