Host nation Italy opened the U22 European Championships with a win over Israel, 59 -34, in the only game on day one. Storming to an early lead in the first quarter (18 – 5), the Italians controlled the game from the start and despite losing the final quarter 13 – 8, the game was never in doubt.
Day two started with a thrilling match between current U22 European Champions Great Britain and Turkey. In a nail biting match there was hardly anything between the two sides throughout the game. However it was Turkey’s forwards that GB struggled to restrain, who scored 38 points inside the paint seeing Turkey’s Efeturk finish with a double double (28 points, 20 rebounds), ensuring Turkey the win, 65 – 58.
Turkey’s coach, Kemal Okur, said after the game, “It was a great victory. The key of the game? Our brotherhood”
With only a short recovery period from their defeat against Italy on the previous evening, Israel were back on court for the second time, this time against reigning U23 World Champions Germany. A slow start from the German’s allowed Israel to take advantage and take the lead into the first quarter, 12 – 10. However this was short lived, after a time out from German’s head coach Peter Richardz, the German team found some form, going on a 16 – 0 run to take an 11 point lead into half time, 21 – 32. Buoyed by their second quarter performance the momentum stayed with the German’s, who dominated the final half 43 points to Israel’s 7 and took a comfortable 75 -28 victory.
Germany’s Head Coach, Peter Richardz, said “It was important to start our tournament with a win. After a slow start, we increased our aggression and energy levels in the second half. Step by step we hope to be more competitive in Group A. I saw today the game between Great Britain and Turkey and I was impressed. There are many tough teams in this European Championship.”
The second close game of the day came when hosts Italy matched up against The Netherlands. It was Italy who controlled the game in the first half taking a 12 point lead into the third quarter, however a stunning comeback from The Netherlands team saw them win the third quarter 18 – 8 and go into the fourth only two points behind Italy, 38 – 40. With all to play for it was a tense final quarter with both teams going on scoring runs to keep it close. However it was the Italian’s Bedzeti who held his nerve to make the winning layup and edge the game by just a basket, 52- 54.
The final game of the day France took on their Spanish counterparts. Assisted by a 40 point game from Alexis Ramonet, France came out victorious with a 20 point win, 67 – 47.
France’s Head Coach, Stephane Binot, said following the game “It was a strong performance by us, especially in defence. Tomorrow is going to be a great game versus Turkey. If we play with the same intensity I saw today, we can win it. Our goal in this European Championship? Toronto of course, but we want to compete for the medal”.
Day 1 and 2 Scores:
- Italy 59 – 34 Israel
- Turkey 65 – 58 Great Britain
- Israel 28 – 75 Germany
- The Netherlands 52 – 54 Italy
- Spain 46 – 67 France
- 11:15 The Netherlands v Israel
- 13:30 Great Britain v Spain
- 15:45 France v Turkey
- 18:00 Italy v Germany