Italy surprises and eliminates Serbia from the EuroBasket

The Italian team struck down this Sunday in the round of 16 of the Eurobasket to the Serbia of Nikola Jockic (86-94), one of the favorites to win the continental title, who could not counteract the foreign success of the rival team (16 triples) despite the offensive display of its top star (32 points and 13 rebounds).

The first big surprise of the final phase was signed by Italy, who with a showy attack and intense defense beat the Balkan team in the second half with a 35-49 run.

Marco Spissu (22 points), Simone Fontecchio (19) and Nicolo Melli (21) shone from the perimeter to punish the talented Serbia, who, after falling in the quarterfinals of the last World Cup and not qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, recorded their third consecutive disappointment.

In the first half, the offensive talent of both teams prevailed over the defense. Serbia, led by Jokic in the zone (19 points and 7 rebounds in the first 20 minutes) and triples by Marinkovic and Kalinic, started off on the better foot thanks to a 20-9 run (min.4).

But Italy, with coach Gianmarco Pozzeco earning an early technique for protesting, got up from the first blow to the sound of Melli and Luigi Datome from the perimeter and prevented the bleeding from increasing in the first act (28-20).

In the second, the Italian team continued to do the accordion. He lost by 14 points (38-24, min. 14) due to Jokic’s hierarchy in the paint, but managed to find Simone Fontecchio and Melli, his best men, to chain a run of 8-19 and place himself three points from the Serbs (46-43, min.19).

Micic came to the rescue before the break and once again gave his team some air, which was having a hard time stopping the fast basketball posed by the transalpine team in defense (51-45).

After the break, the dizzying pace of Italy continued to undermine the confidence of Serbia, misguided from the perimeter and with Jokic as the only offensive argument.

Coinciding with the expulsion of their coach for the second technique, Italy entrusted themselves to three consecutive triples by Spissu to take the lead (63-66, min.28). However, the Balkan team, with more courage than game, faced the last ten minutes of the match with a minimal advantage (68-66).

The last quarter was torture for Serbia. Italy endorsed him in five minutes with a partial 2-16 that was definitive (70-82). Jokic’s insistence was insufficient for the team coached by Svetislav Pesic.

Italy gave the surprise and, after the final whistle, their players celebrated in a big way with their coach, who missed the best moments of his team’s game.

Italy will face France on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. in the fight for the semifinals. The transalpines will have two days to enjoy a memorable feat.

Markkanen threatens Spain

A memorable display from the power forward Lauri Markkanen (43 points and 9 rebounds) finished off Croatia (94-86) and qualified the Finnish team for the Eurobasket quarterfinals, in which next Tuesday they will cross Spain’s path with their star in an excellent moment of form.

The new Jazz player in the NBA will be the main threat for the Spanish team. With his superlative performance at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Markkanen set a new record for points by a Finnish player in a Eurobasket, World Cup and Olympic Games.

His success in field goals (66%) put an end to Croatia’s resistance, which lasted until the last quarter thanks to a notable performance by Bojan Bogdanović (23 points).

Finland started the match with more energy. Guided by their star -scorer of 17 points in the first half- and an inspired Sasu Salin, a Lenovo Tenerife player, from the perimeter, the Nordic team posted an 18-10 run in the first seven minutes.

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Italy surprises and eliminates Serbia from the EuroBasket