For this penultimate round of 16 of the competition, at the end of the Sunday afternoon, two teams that are of particular interest to France are competing. Indeed, the winner of this Serbia – Italy will be the opponent of Vincent Collet and his men, for the 1/4 final on Wednesday.
The “Joker” in his works to start
Unsurprisingly, it was the Serbs who got into their game the best, with a very good first quarter. As always with Svetislav Pesic’s troop in this EuroBasket, the attack unfolds, under the impetus of the brilliant duo Vasilije Micic – Nikola Jokic on “pick-and-roll”.
The “Joker” is in MVP mode in the first act, with 9 points scored, including 7 on the free throw line. Collectively, Serbia went to the penalty line on eleven occasions.
The Italian players are concentrated and not unworthy, but have too many flaws at the start to hope to hinder their opponents. Especially in the exercise of outside shooting, with an ugly 2/9, which is clearly their all-out against a formation that crushes them in the racket (20 rebounds to 11 in the first half, in favor of Serbia) . But everything will work out afterwards, in the second quarter, for the Squadra Azzurra. Largely thanks to a rediscovered exterior address, with a nice 6/10 in ten minutes, driven by the two wingers Nicolo Melli and Simone Fontecchio, who compiled five award-winning shots.
While they were close to breaking a few minutes earlier with almost 15 points behind, the Italians are finally in the rearview mirror of the Serbs at the break (51-45).
The torpedoing of the Italians
It is therefore hardly a surprise when Italy, two minutes from the end of the third quarter, manages to pass in front of the score (66-63), after adding four more award-winning shots to its counter.
Increasingly tense by the specter of an “upset”, the Serbs are losing the fluidity of their attack, even if Nikola Jokic is still in the oven and in the mill. A few minutes later, the situation worsened even severely for the Serbs, who conceded a terrible 16-2 to start the last act, while Italy scored six additional outside shots. Even the expulsion of Coach Pozzecco, for two techniques, does not start the Italian furia.
Five minutes from the end of the match, the Italian selection increases its lead to +12 (82-70)! The Serbs will not return, and therefore take the door in the second round (84-76), against an Italian team carried by a demonic external address (16/38). A (rather) good news for the French team, which avoids a 1/4 final against a cador of the competition… But the Blues have already accustomed us to thwart when they are favorites.
See you in any case Wednesday, at 5:15 p.m.