Switzerland won a very important match in view of qualifying for Euro 2025. In its pre-qualifying pool, the Helvetii dominated Austria 80-61 in Fribourg.
What a conquering Swiss team in this crucial match! Ilias Papatheodorou’s players delivered a top-notch performance against the Austrians. Beaten by 16 points in Austria, Arnaud Cotture and his teammates knew they had to win with, as a bonus, a good lead to pass the Austrians in the event of a draw.
Mission accomplished despite a little scare at the end of the match. Because Switzerland had a lead of up to 26 points and needed 17 to get the better of their opponents in the group. The end of the game was tense to finally see the Swiss win with 19 bonus units.
Started well, the Swiss counted up to ten points in advance (18-8 and 28-18), but without being able to drive the point home when they had the means. Some curious choices in attack and sometimes a little loose defense on the Austrian outside shooters probably explain the four-point lead at halftime (40-36).
But back from the locker room, the Swiss displayed an exemplary state of mind. Led by a lethal Roberto Kovac (18 pts) from a distance and author of ten points during this third quarter, Papatheodorou’s players also saw the Austrians be much less successful at three points (1/12 in the second half ).
Defensively solid and very attentive with the ball, as evidenced by their two loss of ball after three periods, the Helvetians followed the game plan imagined by their coach. Marco Portannese, battered in defense at the start of the match, responded magnificently by scoring 15 points. Mention also to Natan Jurkovitz, author of only two points, but terribly effective on the ground to tire the Austrians.
Switzerland has yet to play two games this summer in Ireland and Cyprus. And unless there is a huge misstep, she should be able to make it to the next round.