Group D Preview - Day 5

04.09.2011

EUROBASKET 2011

14. Kyrylo Fesenko (Ukraine)
Can Ukraine ride the momentum of their win over Bulgaria and claim Georgia as their next scalp?

Russia and Slovenia each booked their place for the next round on Saturday, meaning the last two days will mark the battle for the third and last ticket.

While the top two are waiting for the last day to decide top spot, the big battle for that all-important third place will begin with Sunday's very first game between Georgia and Ukraine.

Georgia v Ukraine - Sunday at 15:30 (14:30 CET)

Both teams hold a 1-2 record but the winner of this encounter will be in pole position to qualify.

With no less than seven players standing 2.10m or taller, the main match-up of the game will be contested by the teams' great frontlines.

That might open the floor for the guards on both ends.

Ukraine earned their first win on Saturday thanks to their guards who scored well from long distance.

Georgia might look for help from the wings where Manuchar Markoishvili and Viktor Sanikidze are causing a lot of trouble for opponents.

One way or another, these 40 minutes will be the main focus of the day as both sides know the value of a win.

 

Russia v Bulgaria - Sunday at 18:00 (17:00 CET)

Russia are still unbeaten after three games and wish to remain perfect before the big clash for the first place against Slovenia on the last day of the group.

In order to do that, they need to get by Bulgaria who set a new low-scoring in Klaipeda on Saturday with 56 points against Ukraine.

If they wish to shock Russia, a much better team, Bulgaria will have to come up with something else.

Pull a rabbit out of the hat and prove they can compete with the top level.

Russia beat Belgium with their top scorers being a pair of back-ups and none of their top players logging more than 28 minutes.

Coach David Blatt will hope his main players will get to play as little as possible to arrive fresh and ready for the last game with Slovenia.

Will Bulgaria give him that pleasure?

 

Slovenia v Belgium - Sunday at 21:00 (20:00 CET)

Prior to this EuroBasket, Belgium's last appearance in the tournament dated back to 1993 and it was also the last time they won a game.

The opponent they beat back then? Slovenia.

Yet it seems like Sunday's game will be anything but easy for Belgium to get their first win.

Slovenia's win over Georgia gave them great momentum as they qualified for the next round.

Dropping a game against the winless Belgium could put a stop to that momentum, yet this will be no walk in the park.

Belgium put up a fight for three quarters against Russia and nearly beat Bulgaria on Thursday.

Thomas van den Spiegel and Ilunga Mbenga will try to limit Slovenia's frontline and keep Belgium in the game long enough to possibly re-create the win from 18 years ago.


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