Eurobasket 2013 has kicked off in Ljubljana, Slovenia and 24 teams are set to wage war on the hard court, to determine the best in Europe. For the preliminary rounds of the competition the 24 teams are divided into four groups of six teams each. The tournament will go on from September 4-22. At the end of the road, one nation, one team will be able to call themselves the European Champions!
Can the defending champions, Spain, keep their title and hold off the hungry contenders to their throne? The Spanish team will be without reliable veterans Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau Gasol. A big weight has now been thrust upon the shoulders of Marc Gasol, Pau’s younger brother, to carry Spain to victory. He will be contesting the paint against some of Europe’s most talented giants. Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez will take care of Spain’s backcourt duties. Spain will count on excellent ball movement and efficient transition offense throughout the tournament in order to execute a successful run.
Gasol (Pau) and Navarro lifted Spain over France, 98:85 to take the gold medal in the last Eurobasket.
Spain will face Croatia in Group C on Day 1 of the preliminaries and are looking at stiff competition from the young Croatian team. Last Eurobasket’s runners-up, France, who will be led by Tony Parker will be tested early by Germany in Group A. Serbia and Lithuania will be a key game to watch in Group B. Meanwhile, Group D will have to await European juggernauts Greece and Turkey to butt heads on another day as they are matched up against different opponents on the first day.
The rest of the matchups for Day 1 are as follows:
Israel vs. United Kingdom
Belgium vs. Ukraine
France vs. Germany
Serbia vs. Lithuania
FYR Macedonia vs. Montenegro
Latvia vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Georgia vs. Poland
Spain vs. Croatia
Czech Republic vs. Slovenia
Russia vs. Italy
Sweden vs. Greece
Turkey vs. Finland