For this penultimate round of eight of the competition, at the end of Sunday afternoon, two teams of particular interest for France will compete. In fact, the winner of this Serbia – Italy will be the opponent of Vincent Collet and his men, for the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The “Joker” in his works to begin with
Unsurprisingly, it was the Serbs who got into their game at their best, with an excellent first quarter. As always with Svetislav Pesic’s troop in this EuroBasket, the attack unfolds, under the thrust of the brilliant duo Vasilije Micic – Nikola Jokic at the “pick-and-roll”.
The “Joker” is in MVP mode in the first act, with 9 points scored, including 7 on the free throw line. Overall, Serbia have gone to the penalty line on eleven occasions.
The Italian players are focused and not unworthy, but they have too many flaws at the beginning to hope to hinder their opponents. Especially in the exercise of the outside shot, with a bad 2/9, which is clearly their total against a formation that crushes them to the racket (20 rebounds to 11 in the first half, in favor of Serbia). But everything will be resolved later, in the second quarter, for the Blue Square. Above all thanks to a rediscovered external address, with a nice 6/10 in ten minutes, pushed by the two external Nicolò Melli and Simone Fontecchio, who have created five prize-winning pitches.
While a few minutes earlier they were close to breaking with almost 15 points behind, the Italians are finally in the rearview mirror of the Serbs at the interval (51-45).
The torpedo of the Italians
It is therefore no surprise when Italy, two minutes from the end of the third quarter, manages to pass the score (66-63), after having counterattacked four other prize-winning shots.
Increasingly strained by the specter of “turmoil”, the Serbs are losing the fluidity of their attack, even though Nikola Jokic is still in the oven and mill. A few minutes later, the situation also worsened severely for the Serbs, who conceded a terrible 16-2 at the start of the last act, while Italy scored six further shots from outside. Even the expulsion of coach Pozzecco, for two techniques, does not ignite the Italian fury.
Five minutes from the end of the match, the Italian selection increases the advantage to +12 (82-70)! The Serbs will not return, and therefore will take the goal in the second round (84-76), against an Italian brought by a demonic external address (16/38). A (rather) good news for the French team, which avoids a quarter-final against a cador of the competition … But the Blues have already accustomed us to foiling when they are favorites.
See you on Wednesday anyway, at 5.15pm.