Spain made their first European final since 1995 after defeating Germany in the semi-final, 70-60, in the 2019 Men’s European Championship being held in Wałbrzych, Poland.
In a tight opening quarter Spain and Germany struggled to find their rhythm, but after five minutes, Jordi Ruiz sent Spain on an eleven-point unanswered run to give them a nine-point advantage at the end of the first, 17-8. They extended the lead out to thirteen points early in the second, but Germany rallied, and assisted by Dirk Passiwan’s 11 points for the quarter, won the period 21-15 which brought it back to just a three-point game at half-time.
In the third quarter Spain again extended their lead, winning it 22-15, to give themselves a little breathing space.
The last ten minutes finished 16-16 as Germany tried hard but couldn’t really threaten Spain’s lead, losing Aliaksandr Halouski to his fifth foul and second unsportsmanlike in the game, shortly followed by Dirk Passiwan who also fouled out of the game.
Spain’s Jordi Ruiz top scored for the game with 26 points, with Dirk Passiwan leading the scoring with a triple-double of 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Following the game, Ruiz said:
“I feel good physically and mentally, everyone is playing well, and the team is defending well. It’s not about who scores, we just want to win.
“We started strong as we have done in every game, but then Germany came back at us and we knew that the game could be point by point at the end, but in the third quarter the team reacted to the situation and we showed some great mental strength that we haven’t had in previous tournaments and that’s got us to the final.
“We knew that if we did everything right we’d get to the final and meet GB. We will go into the final and just try to do our best and try to beat them.
“Already qualifying for Tokyo was nice, but the team was very focussed on this game and now we focus on the next game which is GB.”
This will be the first time that Spain have made a European Championship final since 1995 in which they met the same opponent as they will for tomorrow’s final, Great Britain.
Spain will play Great Britain at 17:00 tomorrow (Sunday 8th September) in the final. Germany will meet Turkey at 14:30 to try to retain the bronze they won in 2017.
Re-watch the semi-final
The 2019 Men’s European Championship acts as the wheelchair basketball zonal qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the semi-finalist teams claiming the four available spots.