It’s getting closer which means it’s time for BallinEurope to deliver, for the first time in far too long, it’s group by group previews of EuroBasket 2022 and, in a shock, B followed A so get ready to be stunned as C follows B, it’s Group C time
It’s the group that yours truly will be at in person. That also means our heaviest coverage during the group stage will be from there, as will all of my drinking although I imagine based on where my AirBnB is that the bigger drinking will be in the knockout phases.
Mediolanum Forum, Milan, Italy
Need to know
It’s going to be an emotional one as, for those with a rooting interest, it’s highly likely that most people will also be hoping that Ukraine make a deep run for obvious reasons. This is also where Giannis Antetokounmpo will be aiming to show just how much Greece are truly back.
Ukraine vs Great Britain – 2 September
There has been a real pattern so far of avoid the ultimate marquee match-up but, for me, this immediately jumped off the page as the most important of the group stage games across all four groups.
Ukraine will be playing with a mountain of emotion against a British team that seems to have treated the World Cup qualifying window more as prep games for EuroBasket than real qualifiers. That potentially makes them more dangerous than the roster looks on paper although Ukraine should still be favoured to take this one.
Greece and Italy. I was tempted to put Croatia in here but they are clearly not as much an absolute certainty as the other two to progress. The clash between the group favourites is the same evening as the Milan derby, which will no doubt do wonders for traffic across the city.
Croatia, Great Britain, and Ukraine. That is definitely alphabetical not predicted order. The British have been quietly improving and, while they won’t be favoured to progress, they might well spring enough heart attacks in one of these opponents to have people wondering if they could do it.
Ok, there’s only one here and it feels harsh. Estonia might well get a win over Great Britain but there’s just not enough there to believe they can pull such a result twice in this group.
BallinEurope has a book, a real life actual book called I Like it Loud, and you can buy it on Amazon now. It’s here as a book and here in Kindle form.
The arguments here are, really, over first vs second and third vs fourth. I’m going with my head on the former and my gut on the latter.
That’s three of four groups down, which means the last preview’s subject matter is inevitable.
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