By Stefan Djordjevic/ email@example.com
The national teams have been facing the trouble of putting together their best possible rosters for a while now and the qualifiers for the 2022 EuroBasket have been no exception.
There were cases in the past of prominent national teams missing big competitions due to not having their best players available and the upcoming February window of the qualifiers might end up with similar fates.
Whether it’s the calendar of different competitions and the players can’t make it due to club obligations, more often so for the NBA and EuroLeague, or due to the challenges caused by the coronavirus – the coaches have been forced to adjust and find ways to win.
That means a new roster every single window and with limited practicing time, it’s a big challenge to fit all the pieces together and display a proper performance on the floor.
One such example has been Serbia which has had ups and downs and, in the previous window, suffered a loss to Switzerland. The big upset was, ironically, led by Marko and Dusan Mladjan – both with Serbian nationalities.
However, Serbia is still in a good position to seal a ticket as they need a win in only one of the two upcoming games against Georgia and Switzerland.
Coach Igor Kokoskov and his assistant Dejan Milojevic put in great effort to put together the best roster possible and they succeeded in some cases. Most notably, Vasilije Micic and Marko Guduric will strengthen the “Eagles” for the second game.
But there are other powerhouses that have been struggling as well, and they haven’t been as lucky to log good enough results.
Lithuania has a 2-2 record in Group C which features the already-qualified Czech Republic (as a host) and basically, only two spots are available. Belgium surprised a lot of people and tops the standings with 3-1, leaving Denmark and Lithuania to fight it out.
Gabriel Lundberg came up big for Denmark to beat Lithuania in the previous match and the latter now have no room for mistakes. They’ll need to use every ounce of experience they’ve got among the veterans.
Turkey has been doing even worse and bottoms Group D with 1-3. They’ll have to chase after the Sweden squad against which they clash on February 20 and their opponent will have Jonas Jerebko on the roster, for the first in years. Perhaps the recently-added Shane Larkin might be able to give them a final push as he’s been called up once again to suit up.
Another peculiar case has been the Latvian national team in Group H. Also at the bottom with 1-3, the Latvians will have to race Bulgaria (1-3) for the last spot that leads to EuroBasket. The latter won 110-104 after overtime in the first duel and the rematch has been scheduled for February 20th.