Will Italy take revenge on Spain at the World Cup qualifiers?

The World and European champion, Spain will play her next home match at the Arena of Caceres. It will be on February 26 against Italy and close the last qualifying window for the World Cup.

With guaranteed qualification and a squad with little international experience, Spain has achieved its eighth victory in the windows of the World Cup against Island. Without Scariolo on the bench, Luis Guil used the whole team, each having between 7 and 23 minutes on the floor. The team leaders were Salvo with 18 points, Perez with 13 rebounds and Bassas with 6 assists. With a lot of essential absences, Spain has chosen to give less-used players the chance to stand out in this window. Spain created a balanced attack with seven different players leading the team in scoring over these nine matches. Xabi Lopez was the top scorer 4 times, Jaime Fernandez and Dario Brizuela twice each and against Island was Salvo. Spain has 2 important missions, one to keep the 1st place in the group and the other to keep the 1st place in the Fiba World Ranking.

After the victory against Ukraine, the Azzurri will go to Spain where they will try to steal the 1st place. Unlike the match against Ukraine, Gianmarco Pozzecco left 3 players at home: Paul Biligha, Alessandro Cappelletti and Giampaolo Ricci. In the match with Ukraine Mannion gave 28 points with 6 assists and Spissu 21 points with 7 assists. Because during the first quarter, Paul Biligha suffered a sprain to his right knee the new captain against Spain will be Amedeo Tessitori. In November, Italy lost against Spain dramatically at home in front of 10,000 fans in overtime, after a very good game played by Tenerife’s pg, Jaime Fernandez with 28 points.

Will Spain be able to find a new offensive leader again and surprise Italy or will Mannion-Spissu get their revenge and Italy will win the group?

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: FIBA