Rome, Nov 11 Spain debuted this Friday with a victory against Italy (84-88), in the town of Pesaro (north), its status as brand-new European champion in a continuous exchange of blows that was decided in extra time and that puts the classification within sight of the Spanish team to the 2023 World Cup.
The brand-new European and World champion, however, was hurt by Georgia’s victory over Iceland (85-88), so she could only mathematically close her presence at the World Cup if she beats the Netherlands, last in the group and still without any victory, and Georgia yields to Italy in the day that takes place next Monday.
With a new choral, team, Eurobasket-style victory and under the leadership of Jaime Fernández (28 points) who was measured against a very successful Mannion (20) in a particular duel to tip the balance, Spain is now placed first in the group alone with thirteen points, one more than Italy and two more than Georgia.
The 21 PIR points of the Madrilenian were matched by an immense Alberto Díaz at the back, in line with the last Eurobasket, who finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, seven assists and five stolen balls, becoming one more day a nightmare for his rivals .
Sergio Scariolo’s team started well, who already warned that when he plays with Spain he ceases to be Italian, and got a maximum advantage of ten points that at the end of the first round, after a good ‘azzurra’ reaction, were four (18- 22, min 10).
At the beginning of the second quarter, Spain was almost insurmountable in defense, closing gaps inside to prevent easy transit through the area, again in solidarity with each other, and taking over most of the defensive rebound, key to victory.
But the stands of the Vitrifrigo Arena in Pesaro woke up and with it the Italian players, who reacted by finding themselves eight points behind and, with five minutes to go, managed to turn the score around.
Spain remained ahead despite the fact that Italy prevailed in that quarter (15-14), in what was a rush that gave life to the Italians, who saw themselves with possibilities against a recently proclaimed continental champion team that exhibited great defense in the first quarter but that he did not know how to take advantage of his good moments to stand out in the light.
The Spanish defense continued to be the best ally of Scariolo’s men, who were not accompanied in that phase by a percentage of success in shots from two and three-pointers that would help to deal what would have been a definitive blow in the match.
That lack of success was what continued to give life to Giamarco Pazzeco’s team, which fell short in the third quarter (49-55), the first real exchange of blows in which the dominance of the teams alternated, but which He left signs that he could complicate the match, especially with the game of a 21-year-old Mannion, who surprised on the Italian parquet.
The tension increased in the last quarter. Scariolo scolded his team after a penetration by Mannion, in a clear sign that the coach did not see clearly the end of a game that lasted into extra time that Joel Parra could have avoided if he had hit a shot from near the hoop.
In extra time, with emotions running high, with all the players giving their best to get the match going, Jaime Fernández appeared again to respond to the Italian attacks, counteract the damage caused by Mannion and lead his team to a fundamental victory that is worth half a ticket to the 2023 World Cup.
– Data sheet:
84 – Italy (18+15+16+21+14): Petrucelli (7), Ricci (5), Spissu (12), Tessitori (8) and Vitali (8)-starting five-, Baldasso (4), Biligha (10), Mannion (20), Pajola (2) and Severini (8).
88 – Spain (22+14+19+15+18): Brizuela (5), Díaz (8), Parra (12), Saiz (9) and Salvo (8)-starting five-, Barreiro (-), Bassas (2), Fernández (28), Guerrero (1), Núñez (-), Sima (6) and Yusta (9).
Incidents: Match corresponding to the second phase of the qualifying window for the 2023 World Cup, played at the Vitrifrigo Arena in Pesaro (Italy). EFE
82-86. Spain beats Italy in extra time and gets the classification back on track