With the informal Turkish national fight song “Oniki Dev Adam” getting lots of media play thanks to the stirring renditions performed by hometown crowds at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, BallinEurope thought it would be a good time to give props to Lithuania’s own popular sports anthem.

“Trys Milijonai” (or “Three Million”) was a song originally written and recorded by TV personality Marijonas Mikutavičius in advance of the 2000 Olympic Games. While well-liked (and -bought) within the first couple years of release, it took national team success in basketball – naturally: This is Lithuania – for the single to really hit the stratosphere. When Team Lithuania progressed to the top spot on the podium in Eurobasket 2003 and local television ended broadcasts with the song, this tournament “made [‘Trys Milijonai’] a runaway hit and a de facto national basketball anthem.”

Indeed, as with recent Turkish ad campaigns, Lithuania’s national team members also occasionally test out their pipes on the ditty. Here’s the Eurobasket 2007 squad belting out the song. (Hey, it beats “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”)

Since the song is quite long and much of the particulars defy translation, BiE won’t print the full lyric sheet here; the following is a somewhat representative sample:

Gali numirt iš nevilties ar iš laimės (You may die of despair or happiness)

Net jei žaidi tik šachmatais arba dartais. (Even if you only play chess or darts.)

Juk būna, kad kartais (After all, that’s how it is sometimes)

Lieki vienas be draugo (This leaves one without a friend)

Ir jauti, jog kažkas tave saugo. (And feeling that something is protected by you.)

Mes per vieną naktį dideli užaugom (We are together on one big night)

Ir mes galingi iš naujo – jaho, jaho, jaho. (And we are strong again – yeah, yeah, yeah.)

So, how about it? Will the Green-and-Golds experience despair or happiness tonight? Since nobody seems capable of shutting down Luis Scola right now, it seems Team Lithuania may be forced to let Argentina’s alpha dog get his 28 or 30 points.

We do know that Lithuania can run with the quick South Americans, but are they capable of slowing down the game on defense, “uglying it up” a bit if you will, with the sort of bruising, punishing capability that Serbia showed in its win against Argentina (not to mention last night in taking out Team Spain)?

The Argentines won’t be beaten by a simple discrepancy of height – the Brazil game clearly demonstrated this – but Lithuania’s success will clearly depend on playing the smart defense they’ve been showing recently, in outrebounding bigger teams and holding opposition field-goal percentage in the 30s over the last 10 quarters of play against Spain, France and China.

BallinEurope Official Fearless Predictions™: BiE’ll surely get guff for this one, but where’s the sport in picking the easy choice? It’s Lithuania over Argentina by five. And post-victory, BiE sincerely hopes to see another YouTube with similar footage as that captured during the China “eighth final” game.

In the Russia-USA game? Well, Team Russia may have certain advantages in the four and five spots, but bookmakers have this team at 100/1 to win the tournament at this point. Plus, the Russian Superleague has never seen the likes of Kevin Love before … USA pulls away in the second-half for the decisive win.

Thanks to reader A.S. for the YouTube links!

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