Spain Trying To Defend Title At EuroBasket

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The top four spots at EuroBasket 2011 will be decided Sunday with defending champion Spain taking on France in Lithuania. They’ve both already clinched bids to the 2012 London Olympics, but there is still plenty to play for in a rivalry contest such as this one.

This is, after all, the battle for European basketball supremacy.

Russia and FYR Macedonia will battle it out in the bronze medal, having both already clinched spots in next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament.

There were games played today, though. Consolation games (video above). Host-nation Lithuania edged Greece 73-69 in the fifth-place game. Both teams are headed for the qualifying tournament since the third through sixth-place teams in this competition earn automatic spots there.

Slovenia slipped by Serbia in the seventh-place game, finishing the competition on a winning note even though their Olympic dreams were already dashed.

The marquee matchup of the competition, of course, comes Sunday when global heavyweights Spain and France square off. Both of their rosters are stocked with NBA talent. Spain will be led by Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Serge Ibaka, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and Ricky Rubio. France counters with a loaded roster that includes Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw  and Mickael Gelabale.

These two teams have an extensive history of battling each other, having played against each other 18 times in EuroBaskets. Spain has won all but three of those matchups, including a 96-69 win in the second round to win Group E of this competition, a contest that Parker and Noah sat out so they could rest up for the quarterfinals.

“On Sunday, Spain will be clear favorites. They have dominated the EuroBaskets for several years,” Batum said. “It’s the best team in the world behind Team USA. They are strong but not unbeatable. Anything can happen.”

Again, all four teams in action on the final day of the competition will play next summer, but only Spain and France are guaranteed to play in the Olympics.

Field for 2012 Olympics
Team How
United States 2010 World Champion
Great Britain Host
Tunisia FIBA Africa Champion
Australia FIBA Oceania Champion
Argentina FIBA Americas Champion
Brazil FIBA Americas 2nd place
Spain Eurobasket finalist
France Eurobasket finalist
Team 9 FIBA Asia Champion
Team 10 2012 Qualifier
Team 11 2012 Qualifier
Team 12 2012 Qualifier
Field for 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Team How
Angola FIBA Africa 2nd place
Nigeria FIBA Africa 3rd place
New Zealand FIBA Oceania 2nd place
Dominican Republic FIBA Americas 3rd place
Puerto Rico FIBA Americas 4th place
Venezuela FIBA Americas 5th place
FYR Macedonia Eurobasket 3rd-4th place
Russia Eurobasket 3rd-4th place
Lithuania Eurobasket 5th place
Greece Eurobasket 6th place
Team 11 FIBA Asia 2nd place
Team 12 FIBA Asia 3rd place

7 Comments

  1. Paello says:

    VAMOS ESPAÑA!!! Amazing match of Navarro and trully deserved MVP- Navarro is the best european basketball that not play in the Nba. He still can retourn to a fight for a tthe rim. He is very good

  2. Astarioth says:

    Spain is just too good for France, Gasol is probably the best european player ever, he has been Mvp in eurocup, in world Cup,top scorer in jjoo, many medals, two rings in nba, navarro is amazing player, just unstoppable when he is on fire , marc a fantastic role player, ibaka is just a supernatural force, France made a good tournament but i think just the best version of usa is able to beat spain. congratulation to that country and i hope a olimpic final between spain vs usa the next year.

  3. Robert says:

    Go Spain Go! The best players and the best people of the world´s basketball. thank´s Sekou. Go España Go!

  4. Golden Kamikaze says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been on NBA.com for 10 years now! I’m from Paris so I root for France’s national team. But Spain is of course the favorite, we all know that they are big in forwards and center positions with Gasols brothers and Ibaka, but I’m particularly afraid of Juan Carlos Navarro, he seems to be too hot to handle! Hope he’ll come back to NBA soon! Go FRANCE!

  5. Antonio says:

    Spain is favorite. France is a worthy finalist, and an excellent team. But this is sport and anything can happen. The curious thing about France is to have that potential in a country where basketball is not exactly a major sport.

  6. Bob says:

    EuroBasket is not a qualification tournament from a European perspective. The winner becomes European champion, and that is worth a lot more than the qualification for the Olympic games that comes with it. So the final is far from just “a rivalry contest”.

  7. purpleshag says:

    Hey Sekou, was wondering what you thought of this piece.
    http://therestijustsquandered.com/2011/09/18/a-dream-teams-worst-nightmare/
    Thanks mate.