Italy is seeking the ticket against the US (Image: EPA)
(ANSA) – Manila, 04 SET – Italy will face the United States on Tuesday to determine the ticket to qualify for the semi-finals of the Basketball World Cup, which is being held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia until Sunday the 10th.
Italy coach Gianmarco Buzzico said: “We deserve this match. The boys deserve this stage because they have worked hard since day one to be here. We are not favourites, but with the United States it is always like this.”
The Italian coach added in a press conference: “It is impossible to make comparisons with other matches in the past against the Americans: it is a new chapter and we cannot wait to write it.”
Italy qualified again for the quarter-finals of the World Cup after 25 years, because it lost in the 1998 edition in Greece with a score of 80-77, in this case specifically to the United States.
The American team climbed to the podium in that World Cup, as in the 1974, 1990, and 2006 editions, while it was crowned five times (1954, 1986, 1994, 2010, and 2014) and came in second place in 1950, 1959, and 1982.
“We will take advantage of our best characteristics, which is the ability to move on and off the court as a family, helping each other like before through the basketball intelligence of our players,” Bozzico said.
“We know that we gave our best up to this moment, and we took first place in the second stage,” recalls the Italy coach, who qualified for the quarter-finals after winning Group I over Serbia, which will face Lithuania tomorrow, while it will face Wednesday 6. Duels will be played between Germany, Latvia, Canada and Slovenia.
In the match scheduled in Manila, the American team will play with Paulo Banchero, who chose to defend the colors of the North American team despite the “Azzurra” offer.
“No,” Banchero himself answered tersely to a question from an Italian journalist about a possible message for the “Tifosi” in the run-up to the quarter-final match.
Meanwhile, the President of the Italian Basketball Federation, Gianni Petrucci, confirmed his support for Busico, who will seek to lead the “Azzurra” to its best historical position after finishing fourth in the 1970 and 1978 editions.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to appear in basketball and everyone who knows the sport knows it. It is the merit of exceptional performances by ordinary boys who make themselves loved by a leader like Bozzico,” Petrucci stressed.
“We've never had a coach like this before, he's a guy who makes himself popular. Obviously there's a game tomorrow against the Giants, they're a phenomenon. They're on another level,” Petrucci explained to Radio Ancio Sport. To the United States, accompanying Lithuania in Group J of the second stage after winning Group C of the first round without defeat.
“Of course the United States is the favorite, but we want to advance, and we have nothing to lose. We are in the G8 of the world.
We must face the greats, and a dream costs nothing.”
Petrucci's cautious optimism points to the fact that Steve Kerr's USA team has allowed itself to be the “dream team” bogeyman, as demonstrated by its 110-104 defeat the previous day to Lithuania.
The setback against Lithuania represented the eleventh loss since the founding of the “Dream Team” in 1992, when NBA stars began competing in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) tournaments.
Kerr, an NBA champion as a player with the Chicago Bulls and as a coach with Golden State, admitted: “I hate losing, but we were lucky because the defeat to Lithuania did not affect our goal, which is to win the gold medal.” the Warriors. (I forget).
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