European basketball, an ugly Italy goes out with Ukraine: now the path towards the second round is uphill

European basketball, an ugly Italy goes out with Ukraine: now the path towards the second round is uphill

L’Italbasket tremendously complicates his path to Europeanssuddenly canceling the victory on the debut and the convincing performance against the Greece. The National team of Gianmarco Pozzecco sinks against theUkrainethe passage of the round will be played in the last two games against Croatia And Great Britain and in any case sees a foreshadowing in front of him, in case of qualification, a eighth of final that will see her face off against an opponent of rank.

The signals launched by Simone Fontecchio and companions in the third apparition to the Forum of Assago they are far from encouraging. Not only for the result, but for thedefensive attitude and the quality of a attack hanging on the continuity of the shot from 3 (9/28, 32%) or to the plays of Fontecchio e Achille Polonara. Not that Ukraine is showing off who knows what offensive profile, but it has energy to spare: it cuts it defense of butter blue (63% from 2) and controls the scoreboards (41-32). Enough to win 84-73 despite 13 attempts less than Italy, ballasted by 39% from the field.

It is clear from the first minutes that it will be a complicated evening. The blues have the cold hands (1/7) but they manage to close 21-16 at the first siren, thanks to a trio of flames signed by Fontecchio, Pippo Ricci And Nico Mannion. Ukraine stays there with Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk And Issuf Sanon in attack and supported by the centimeters of Artem Pustovyi. And at the beginning of the second quarter she puts her nose forward for the first time. In short, it was a real game. She of sweat and struggle. It is no coincidence that among the best responses to the call of Pozzecco there is that of Ricci, with 7 points in 5 ‘of use for the 28-22 which widens up to 34-24 with the triple of Gigi Datome. A game that, after 14 minutes of torpor, wakes up a Forum half full, waiting for the sold out on Tuesday for the challenge to Croatia.

The 5/10 from behind the arc is the key to the draw, but also the limit of a national team that totally depends on its 3-point shooting percentages. tick. The only anchor is always Fontecchio, who in stillness is the man to go to to create solutions from nothing. Too little to keep away the Ukrainians they bring back up to -2, also accomplices a couple of blue defensive blunders. The first of a long series. Enough to force Pozzecco to play the tactical move of Paul Biligha on Mykhailiuk to try to defuse the guard in the Nba tour that at the interval alone is worth almost a third of the 38 Ukrainian points.

It works, but when we return we start again without the Olimpia Milano long. Above all Italy starts again with 3 turnovers and puts together the worst 4 minutes of his European, so far. Confusion and errors allow Ukraine to close the gap, drawing a share 46. The blue game is all in the hands of Fontecchio and thrives on impromptuness, while Pozzecco insists with Spissu and keeps Melli inside (at his request) with 4 fouls. The third blue quarter is all enclosed in 7/16 shooting, with 1/7 from 3. In the end, the living or dying of Italbasket is all in the ability to punish from the bow.

And when it doesn’t work, Ukraine puts its nose ahead with Sanon and pushes it all the way to 61-57 at the opening of the last tempino. It is the beginning of the end. Those who expect a signal from Italbasket are left with a dry mouth. It will only arrive in the final secondswhen all is lost, with a reaction to hard muzzle of Spissu for a contact right away. In the meantime, the game went well, unlike what we saw with Greece when the Azzurri continued to row even below 15 points. counter-current. In front of Ukraine, on the other hand, the national team is in confusion slipping to -8 at 34 ‘due to the umpteenth raid of Mykhailiuk on rubble of a defense that staggers dangerously, while in attack the basket seems bewitched. In the next two minutes, Ukraine swells its chest and thanks to mountain of mistakes to the shot dell’Italbasket builds transitions and nice game widening up to +11 with 4 minutes to play.

The icing on the cake is the ability to manage what is missing. Not that it takes who knows what science to keep Italy at a distance, never able to insert three or four convincing actions on both sides of the field. There match photograph it is all in the lost ball on the Spissu-Melli axis 2 minutes from the end: the simplest of supports is oversized, a lost ball that blows up the Ukrainians present at the Forum. Deserved victory and passage of the turn in the icebox for the yellow and blue. Italy is postponed until Tuesday evening, trusting in a total reset, mental and gaming. Captain Datome clearly says: “We have to change face, it is up to us to go back to being those of before starting from the little things “. Much will also pass through Pozzecco’s hands. Otherwise it will be in or out with the Great Britain. Who would have thought, after the great fear placed on Greece by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Twitter: @andtundo


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