Spain begins its last World Cup window renewed and without Scariolo
MADRID, 22 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Spanish men’s basketball team will start this Thursday against Iceland in Reykjavik (8:45 p.m./Teledeporte) the first of its last two games in the qualifying phase for the World Cup this year, a duel in which it comes with many novelties and without the presence of Sergio Scariolo on the bench.
The current world and European champion already fulfilled in the previous ‘window’ and sealed her ticket for the defense of the world title in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia at the end of next summer with two more victories, a very meritorious one at home against Italy and another at home against the Netherlands, but the coach, true to his character, will not allow any kind of relaxation, even if he is not sitting on the bench this time due to his commitments with Virtus.
Despite having their homework done and being in a difficult stretch of the campaign for the players with their clubs, the national team also has the extra motivation of being number one in the FIBA ranking, a historic position that they will want to endorse at Laugardalshöll in the Icelandic capital and next Sunday in Cáceres against the Italian team, against which they will also play to finish as the undefeated leader of this group.
Spain already beat Iceland very forcefully in the first round of this second qualifying phase, a bulky 87-57 at the Navarra Arena at the gates of Eurobasket, which allowed them to compete with a team with great potential and very different from the one they will have this Thursday. In fact, only power forward Joel Parra and point guard Juan Núñez would repeat that clear victory.
On the other hand, there is less news regarding the last victory against the Netherlands, with players who will seek to continue gaining experience, led by the ‘veterans’ Parra and Alberto Díaz, the only ones who exceed double digits in caps (24 and 23, respectively). .
Michael Caicedo (Covirán Granada) and Álex Reyes (Surne Bilbao Basket) were discarded from the previous one, so they will have to wait for their chance to debut, something that Jaume Sorolla could do. The rest already know Scariolo’s methodology, whose role on the bench will be taken by Luis Guil, who expects “a very tough match because Iceland is at stake in qualifying and depends on itself.”
“At home they have only lost one game against Georgia and they play at a very high pace, very physical, they run very well on the counterattack, so we will have to be mentally prepared to endure these situations. We expect a long game,” he added in statements provided by the FEB.
Guil is not overly concerned about Scariolo’s absence, because the Italian “has set up a work structure and direct contact with him.” “We prepare everything together, he gives us the guidelines and we execute them. It’s going to be one more game and Sergi will be supervising everything from Italy. We hope that as always we can compete one hundred percent and try to win this game and the next one in Italy Sunday,” he warned.
Opposite, an Iceland that has options to qualify for its first World Cup, a ticket that will surely be played against Georgia and a motivation that can help them to beat the current world and European champions as they did against Italy. The Icelandic team, where the figure of center Tryggvi Hlinason, from Casademont Zaragoza, stands out, and diminished by the loss of Valencia Basket point guard Martin Hermannsson, will be at the event if they beat the Spanish and on Sunday in Tblisi, while if they lose this Thursday and the Georgians don’t fail, then they would have to beat them by at least four points.
ICELAND: Fridriksson, H.Palsson, Henningsson, Gudmundsson, Baeringsson, Jonsson, K.Palsson, Acox, Olafsson, Nathanaelsson, Bjoernsson, Thrastarson, Hlinason, Thorbjarnarson, Steinarsson and Stefansson.
SPAIN: Díaz, Bassas, Busquets, Núñez, Reyes, Parra, Guerrero, García, Vicedo, Alonso, Pérez, Salvó, Sorolla and Vila.