Scariolo about Lithuania: 'It's not an opponent you usually face in the Round of 16'

Tomas Vanagas
Staff Writer
2022-09-09 20:08

Sergio Scariolo believes that Spain was unlucky to get Lithuania in the Round of 16.

Credit: FIBA

The Spanish national team head coach, Sergio Scariolo, managed to navigate his squad to first place in Group A, but he is not happy about the future opponent in the Round of 16.

The Spaniards won four battles in EuroBasket 2022 group stage and suffered only one defeat against Belgium. However, Spain is set to meet Lithuania at the start of the playoffs.

"It's not an opponent that you usually face in the Round of 16," Scariolo said about Lithuania. "It's an opponent that you usually meet in the semifinals. Before the start of the tournament, Lithuania was ranked among the top five national teams, right? Although we won the group, we were unlucky. It is how it is. We will try to give our best."

Was the Italian specialist surprised by Lithuania's three straight defeats at the start of EuroBasket?

"I was very focused on my team," Scariolo admitted. "We were looking at which opponents we might meet after we beat Turkey and secured first place in the group. Then we already knew that it would be Lithuania or Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the last match, Lithuania built a big early lead, so only then we started thinking about the upcoming opponent."

"We know Lithuania's capabilities. They have two good NBA players, one of them is an NBA All-Star level athlete. The team also includes high-level EuroLeague players.

We prepare very seriously and hope to fight competitively. Our goal is the EuroBasket final. So far everything is going well, we hope to extend our tournament with another victory."

Ahead of the crucial game, the Spanish NT coach is worried about the players' lack of experience.

"Honestly, we're higher than we thought we would be," Scariolo revealed. "We have eight players who have not been to a tournament of this level. We are satisfied with what we have achieved so far.

Our players play together and share the ball. They show faith in our identity and play as a team. The opponent is stronger than those teams we have played against so far. And this will be a really serious challenge for us."

Spain is scheduled to face Lithuania on Saturday, at 20:45 CEST.


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