Itoudis on Greece facing the Czech Republic: 'It's like a final game for us'

2022-09-08 18:35

After Greece made light work of Estonia (90-69), coach Dimitris Itoudis praised his players' team spirit, while also referring to the Czech Republic, their next opponent in EuroBasket Round of 16.

Credit: FIBA

Apart from clearing up the air on Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury, Dimitris Itoudis referred to Greece's next opponent in the EuroBasket Round of 16 in Berlin. 

Once again, for the third time in the last two major competitions, the Czech Republic stands in Greece's way.

The two sides had locked horns in the 2019 World Cup group stage, where Greece won the game but didn't cover the 12-point difference they needed to go through to the knockout phase, and again in the 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament final game in Victoria, Canada.

The team coached by Rick Pitino became easy prey for Ronen Ginzburgs' men, who sealed the ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.

Will Greece have better luck this time around? 

"I'm not the one who determines the luck my team has, with all due respect to the past," Itoudis said in the presser following Greece's game against Estonia (90-69).

"Whatever happened in the past, happened. It's good for the media to make conclusions or comparisons but we respect their team. They got some quality players of EuroLeague or NBA level. It's like a final game for us.

We will try to make things hard for them. They have the same coach and the same habits. It's going to be a tough game," the Greek tactician commented.

For Itoudis, who turned 52 today, Greece's win over Estonia and his side's perfect track (5-0) in Group C was probably the best birthday present he could ask for. 

"I got a very good gift for my birthday from the team. The athletes gave me their best, they have already promised it and are making it happen," Itoudis said.

"My wish is for my players to be healthy so we can choose the best lineup. Everyone has their role, in a tournament with five games in seven days. We also needed to open up the rotation."

Referring to the game against Estonia, who finished in 5th place with a 1-4 balance, Itoudis thinks his team "could have scored more", and made use of an example to showcase the things he liked more about his players' attitude. 

"You saw that Larentzakis gave four extra passes. We did not score, we missed, but the fact that Larentzakis passed and had no pressure to score, says something. Everybody wants to score, but Larry passed the ball. He had the will to pass. We had good shots, we just didn't make them," the experienced play-caller stressed.

"Assists is a matter of two. It's the one who passes and the one who executes," he concluded.


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