Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Croatia Basketball Completes the 2022 EuroBasket Qualifiers in First Place

February 23, 2021 - Croatia basketball completes the 2022 EuroBasket qualifiers in the first place, even after losing to the Netherlands and Turkey in the final cycle. 

The last qualifying match for the 2022 EuroBasket was played without a decisive result on Monday. Recall, Croatia entered the last cycle undefeated, with four victories and an already secured spot at the European Championship. Even with a final two defeats against the Netherlands on Saturday and Turkey on Monday, Croatia still remained on top in its qualifying group.

Croatia v Turkey

The game's first points went to Shane Larkin, who hit two free throws, while Željko Šakić scored Croatia's first basket for 2:2. However, with Ugriclu's three-pointer and Haltali's dunk, Turkey took the lead at 7:4. Marčinković's first basket kept Croatia in the game (7:6), and Drežnjak gave Croatia the 8:7 lead. Croatia then led 10:7 with a 6:0 series, but Turkey returned to finish the first quarter at 21:21.

Four minutes into the second quarter, the score was 27:27. After Turkey led 33:29, coach Mršić asked for a time-out and demanded that his team raise the intensity. Gabrić made it 32:32 with a shot from outside. However, at the end of the first half, Turkey gained 6 points (42:36), and coach Mršić called on his players to be serious and pick up their aggression, which helped Croatia reduce Turkey's lead to 40:42.

Goran Filipović, who recorded his debut performance for the senior national team in this cycle, played an excellent attacking game, and at a critical moment, hit one long-range three-pointer for 49:50. Sakić's three-pointer and Antonio Vrankovic gave Croatia the 56:54 lead. The last quarter began with Croatia up 65:62 after Mustapić's three-pointer.

A three-pointer by Gabrić resulted in Croatia's biggest lead of 6 points (68:62). Seven minutes before the end of the game, Mršić returned the core players, Bilan and Šakić, to the game, though with Shane Larkin back in, Turkey led 72:70. Larkin scored a three-pointer for 79:75 but luckily missed a free throw. Twenty-six seconds before the end of the game, Turkey was up by 6 points, and the game ended 78:84 for Turkey. 


Tomislav Gabrić was the best for Croatia with 13 points, Miro Bilan and Goran Filipović added 12 points each, and Željko Šakić and Antonio Vranković added 10 points each.

Željko Šakić, captain of the national team in this cycle: "I am pleased that we have brought this to an end. We knew this was not going to be an easy group. We knew we would have to fight for every victory. Unfortunately, in these last two games, we did not have the strength to win, but you must know that not a single Euroleague player played for us, that there are local guys, and I am proud of them because they did their best. You also have to know that we don't have foreigners and that's it. That is Croatia."

Goran Filipović made his debut for the senior national team in this qualification cycle: "I think we played somewhat better offensively than in the last game against the Netherlands. Unfortunately, that was not enough today, and I think Turkey is a more organized team than the Netherlands. We can be proud, we fought, and what is important is that we have already qualified for EuroBasket."

Antonio Vranković scored 10 points with 100% accuracy: "We fought. We made a game plan and stuck to it. Unfortunately, we lost in the end, but Turkey deservedly won. They were stronger today, and we move on. We qualified, we are first in the group, and that's great."

Coach Veljko Mršić is satisfied with what the national team showed: “It was a very good and competitive match between the two teams. The result was not important, but we had to play the game at a good level and with high intensity. We saw that Turkey wanted revenge for that defeat in the previous cycle, and we also saw that our team didn't want to allow it. They had Larkin in the plan for just one quarter, but we saw how he played to beat us on one or two possessions. I’m happy with this team, and we came here without four important players in the previous two windows. But we also realized that we have a slightly wider base, that we are a real team and everyone enjoys playing for the national team. It looked much better than the first game against the Netherlands, which is normal - there were debutants, without preparations and friendly matches. But all the players who deserved the invitation are there. Above all, I congratulate them on their placement in the European Championship and on how they played with the national team."

Source: HKS

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Saturday, 20 February 2021

EuroBasket Qualifiers: Croatia Records their First Loss to the Netherlands

February 20, 2021 - Croatia records their first loss to the Netherlands in the EuroBasket qualifiers. 

The Croatia basketball team lost to the Netherlands 57:65 in the Eurobasket qualifiers on Saturday. However, Croatia has already qualified for the European Championship and will play the final game of the tournament against Turkey on Monday. 

After the Netherlands initially led 2:0, Croatia equalized and only increased their advantage. After seven minutes of play, they led +7, 11:4. Mršić's team also had an advantage of 13 points, 19:6, and they finished the first quarter at 19:11.

Although they were equal in the second quarter (16:16), Croatia managed to keep the advantage from the first quarter and went into halftime with a score of 35:27.

In the third quarter, the Netherlands played harder and reduced the gap to 43:44, and with a three-pointer, they took the lead at 49:48. The Netherlands continued ahead in the decisive quarter in which they lead +6, 54:48.

In the first match of the 5th round in Group D, Turkey defeated Sweden 88:80 in Istanbul and remained in the game to qualify for the final tournament. Sengun with 24 points and Tuncer with 19 was the best for Turkey, while Jerebko led Sweden with 21 points.

Croatia leads the group and has already qualified for EuroBasket 2022. The three best national teams will qualify for the final tournament.

1. Croatia 5 4 1 364-314 9
2. The Netherlands 5 3 2 345-340 8
3. Turkey 5 2 3 368-389 7
4. Sweden 5 1 4 371-405 6

In the last round, scheduled for Monday, February 22, Sweden-Netherlands (15:00) and Turkey-Croatia (18:00) will meet.

Source: HRT

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Monday, 24 February 2020

EuroBasket Qualifiers: Croatia Basketball Tops Netherlands Away in Almere

February 24, 2020 - The Croatia basketball team beat the Netherlands away 69:59 in the second round of EuroBasket qualifications. 

It was a duel of two teams that won the first round of Group D. While Croatia celebrated at home against a weak Sweden, the Netherlands shocked Turkey with an away win.

The Croatia basketball team and the Netherlands played in qualifiers for the last World Cup in China. Croatia's defeat in the first round was the beginning of the Croatian basketball downfall. The Netherlands, on the other hand, has progressed year after year.

After desperate past qualifications, Veljko Mrsic led a team that looked good in their debut against Sweden. Croatia finally had harmony and chemistry between the players again in the locker room. The approach was right after a long time. The defense was perfect, and the attack was played fast and easy. 

The Netherlands led after the first quarter, with Croatia leading 38:35 at halftime, followed by the fall of Veljko Mršić's team in the third leg and a period in which only 9 points were scored.

In the last 10 minutes, however, Croatia rose to the occasion and eventually celebrated by 10 points. 

Croatia's most efficient player was Ukic with 14 points, Dreznjak scored 13 and Planinic scored 12. The most efficient for the Netherlands was Franke with 11 points, while Kloof and Van der Vuurts each scored 10 points.

With this victory, Croatia has made a big step towards qualifying for the EuroBasket. 

Recall, Croatia defeated Sweden 72:56 (18: 6, 23:14, 17:25, 14:11) in the first round of the Group D qualifiers for EuroBasket 2021. Turkey and Sweden are also in Group D.

EuroBasket 2021 will be held in Georgia, the Czech Republic, Italy and Germany. The three first-place teams will qualify for the EuroBasket.


Netherlands: Charlon Kloof, Yannick Franke, Worthy de Jong, Mohamed Kherrazi, Jito Kok

Croatia: Roko Ukić, Filip Krušlin, Mateo Drežnjak, Željko Šakić, Miro Bilan

Source: Index.hr

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