There was still a lot at stake as teams entered the last day of the men’s groups stages in the 2021 European Championships with positions and places in the quarter-finals still up for grabs.

It started with an epic encounter between France and Poland for placings in Group A. France took a slender 21-20 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Poland had the better of the second, to go up by three at half-time, 41-38. Despite the French taking the lead midway through the third, Poland went into the fourth with a six-point advantage. France stuck in there and brought it back to a one-point game with under a minute to go. A basket after a timeout restored a three-point lead for Poland before France again closed the gap to a single point. Poland seemed to be happy to run the 24-second clock down on their last offence which meant France could take a timeout with 2 seconds left on the clock to advance the ball and get the last shot. However, the shot didn’t drop and Poland got the win, 71-70, meaning they take third place in Group A with France finishing fourth.

France vs Poland at the 2021 European Championships. Photo Credit: Steffie Wunderl Photography

The Netherlands secured themselves second spot in Group B after storming out of the blocks against Italy to take a 46-16 advantage into half-time. Although Italy improved in the second half, and won the fourth quarter, it was too little too late as the Netherlands won convincingly 82-53, shooting at 66% from the floor. Italy finish the group stage in third place. Mendel Op Den Orth top-scored for the Netherlands with 21 points whilst Sabri Bedzeti top-scored for Italy with 12 points.

There was a dramatic finish in the game between Israel and Austria, to take fourth place in Group B and the last quarter-final spot, as Israel put on a huge comeback to miss out with the final shot of the game. Austria took a 13-point lead into half-time, but Israel had a strong second half to bring it back to within one point with 10 seconds left on the clock. Austria were put to the line for 2 FT’s to take it out to a three-point game but missed both shots. Israel managed to get the ball up court but the last shot didn’t drop and Austria took the win, 57-56. Asael Shabo scored 19 points for Israel with Hubert Hager hitting 19 points for Austria. Israel finish fifth in Group B.

Germany vs Spain at the 2021 European Championships. Photo Credit: Steffie Wunderl Photography

Germany secured a clean sweep in the group stages to seal top spot in Group A, and a favourable crossover against Austria in the quarter-finals, thanks to 73-54 win against hosts Spain. Spain started well to lead at the end of the first, 19-11, but Germany won the second to take a 39-35 lead in to the second half. Towards the end of the third Germany extended their advantage and then maintained it in the fourth to deny any hopes of a Spanish comeback. Thomas Bohme with 29 points and 10 assists and Alex Halouski with 23 points led the German scoring with Manuel Lorenzo scoring 17 points for Spain. Spain finish the group in second meaning they play Italy in the quarter-finals.

Rounding off the day was Switzerland and Lithuania who were battling it out to get their first win of the tournament. Switzerland went up 19-10 after the first quarter and the game continued in this manner with them winning each quarter proving too strong for Lithuania who shot at only 21% making it difficult for them to impose themselves on the game. Nicolas Hausammann hit 16 points for the Swiss as they ran out winners, 63-29, to finish 5th in Group A.

The quarter-final line-up:

Court 1
16:45 – Great Britain v France
19:00 – Netherlands v Poland

Court 2
15:30 – Spain v Italy
17:45 – Germany v Austria

(All times local)

2021 European Championships Event Page

Photo Credit: Steffie Wunderl Photography/SA Images.