Emmet Ryan went drinking tonight, he also went to McDonald’s and there was basketball
Let’s get this right out of the way at the start. Germany are toast. Anyone who watched what happened in Group B today, where it was here in Berlin, on TV, or on a stream, can’t seriously think that the home team has a shot. I love me some Dirk and I’m getting hot on Dennis but that opening game was like a freaking underage exhibition before the grown-ass men took the court. Spain didn’t get it done against Serbia but both teams looked like they would do bad, bad, things to Deutschland. Italy and Turkey was meant to be the game where the hosts drew some hope. Turkey played a type of basketball none of us expected them to and Danilo Gallinari looks good enough to beat Germany on his own. It will take a miracle for the hosts to get out of this group and, to be honest, that’s fine. A place in the knockout rounds needs to be earned. Germany may have drawn the short straw by hosting the group of death but they will tst themselves against the best on this continent in the process.
As I sat in my corner seat sending FIBA’s PR team (sorry Goranka) piss-taking Facebook messages, the stories from around the groups unfolded. This was a ridiculous day. France, in a bid to recreate the mess that was their opening phase of 2013, were forced to overtime by the Susijengi. Israel won a hot mess against Russia, Lithuania were given a serious fright by Ukraine, and Mario Hezonja reminded us that he is still angry as hell at Xavi Pascual. Me? I was just disappointed the Irish head I wanted to meet was too hungover to go drinking. We’re meeting on Sunday but I took matter into my own hands for the sake of science.
John Muirs was home to an Irish lady telling a sob story to a local dude until he tried too hard to play the sympathetic card, at which point she shut him down and I hit the road for my favourite haunt Bourbon Dogs. Last night was mad, tonight was another level of nuts. The barmaid was ably managing a bar of around 40 people solo save for the distraction of the owner who was making the hot dogs. It was a cool kind of mess and realising the scale of the issue I doubled down. Whiskey sour? Best get a pale ale with that. The locals here have a different concept to pre-gaming than back home. In Ireland, finishing at 4am is pretty epic, in Kreuzberg it appears to be a day ending in y. I kept them coming although asking a 19 year-old for a Doggy Style Daiquiri is awkward no matter how much you’ve had.
The day was shockingly relaxing. I mean, sure, the games were intense and getting a baller not named Sinan Guler to do an interview in English was taxing but there was a shocking level of calm to the place. Alex Krstanovic told me how the Serbian press corps was getting worried ahead of the Spain game. It’s Day 1 and these kids are going to the last 8 in the absolute worst case scenario and that’s what they are legitimately thinking. That said, it wasn’t fear in his voice. It was expectation. We all expect this Serbia team to kind of kick some ass in this tournament and not need to be plucky to beat the likes of Spain. Nemanja Bjelica showed that today. It wasn’t guts that got Serbia over the line, it was flat out good basketball. Also, anyone who didn’t love seeing Nedovic having a good night needs to stop pretending they like basketball unless they are long-time BiE commenter Gabe.
So the night wore on and it turned out my pub had a super secret club. For all my devotion to research I opted for a mint julep instead and thought of hitting the road. A kebab was my main goal but the nearest schwarma place was out so it was on to McDonald’s and f I was going to go there I had to get silly. Years ago I heard of a concept called a McGangbang which is essentially four pieces of bread separating two burger patties and a chicken patty. For the sake of BiE nation I took the plunge while giggling like an eejit. This was not a covert op. I must admit, even in my current state, it was glorious.
So onwards to Day 2 where teams can earn some recompence for what happened on Saturday, save for Iceland. Whatever about Germany, Iceland are going to get a series of beatings here. Don’t worry guys, I’ll make up for it. I’ve promised my AirBnB host to go to another play next week. That sort of counts as a win for Iceland.