The fairy tale of Spain is reluctant to come to an end. There are no limits to this selection, indomitable and proud, who yesterday ordered their seventh consecutive medal in a Eurobasket. He did it after beating Germany at home and getting into the final in a match to remember. Another one to fatten up the legend of the national basket that does not understand relays or withdrawals. Who always competes no matter who is on the court. Heart made basketball that will fight tomorrow for the gold against France. A summit that seemed unthinkable and that is no longer so after the feat carried out in Berlin.
The body of Rudy Fernández flies, blanketed by his teammates on the field of the Mercedes-Benz Arena. It is the full happiness of a group that has just sealed a feat. Liberation expressed as a collective. A pineapple. The family. Because to understand what happened in the pavilion you have to look outside the field. Victory that transcends basketball and that is rooted in day-to-day work and faith in one’s teammate. Triumph away from individualities.
Spain lost by ten with eleven minutes remaining and the stands roared. Hellish atmosphere that would have swallowed anyone, but not Garuba, 20 years old, who grabbed the ball and went to the hoop. Two points that started the father spree. To a last quarter in which Spain gobbled up Germany with a historic exhibition in which everyone was a part. From Alberto Díaz, imperial in defense and daring with the hoop, to the final mate of Juancho Hernangómez with which the match was closed, going through Rudy’s intensity, Willy’s rebounds or the team’s defense. Choral triumph that had on Brown’s wrist (18 points in the second half) his most accurate executor. Brown, it’s already Lorenzo.
A group of fans swarms in a corner of the stands of the Mercedes-Benz Arena looking for a photo with their idol, who neither warms up on the track nor plans to play the game. Years ago he retired, but the figure of Dirk Nowitzki continues to capture the hearts of the Germans. Legend of the German basket, the best of a history among which these days the new players of his team tried to make room for themselves. A generation full of talent that had found in this Eurobasket the best showcase to show off and write the most brilliant chapter in its history. I wish you’ll have to wait or settle for bronze.
Germany woke up with everything in their favor to get into their third continental final, the first since 2005, but they had the most uncomfortable rival in front of them. An indomitable Spain that nobody had before the championship, but that appeared in the semifinals, as always in recent times. The team came out brave, with an imperial Willy in the paint, capable of overcoming Theis and Voigtmann. Of crushing the hoop with rage. They were minutes of exchange with Schröder and Wagner assuming the leading role that they were supposed to. The two German figures exercising as such.
It was the entry of Rudy and Brizuela that changed the ecosystem in which the party had settled. Revolution grounded in the heart of the captain and the madness of the debutante. Past, present and future. Three consecutive triples catapulted Spain, who amassed an advantage that seemed unthinkable (30-39, min. 15). Joy that lasted almost until well into the second quarter. They were minutes of confusion for the Germans, who found a lifeguard on the perimeter. First with a very distant triple from Lo on the buzzer and then with his best sniper. A disheveled Obst who teamed up with Schröder to wipe the difference in a jiffy. It had taken a world for Spain to amass those nine points and in just two minutes they saw themselves down on the scoreboard again (46-41, min. 17). It was time to start over.
At the dawn of the championship, the selection would have been undone, but this team had nothing to do with the one it started with. So he continued to believe in a triumph that seemed unlikely, but which he continued to pursue until the end. Until the last breath. Not even Schröder’s explosion in the third quarter (9 more points for him) brought down Spain, firm in its resistance. Pulling from plan B, C, and D. Putting all your resources on the track to work the miracle. Because Germany escaped at the end of the third quarter (71-61, min. 29) and not even for those did the team lower its arms, which suddenly found a giant Alberto Díaz, who in addition to cooling Schröder’s wrist – only put two points in the final period-, he dared with the basket.
His was the triple that started the last period. Ten magical minutes. A room for history. At the height of that semi-final against France in Lille in which Pau Gasol scored 40 points. An 18-3 run commissioned by Brown’s temperance -11 points in this quarter- that turned the score around and commissioned a historic final.