casspi montenegro 311.
(photo credit: FIBA EUROPE Web site))
An 11th straight appearance in the European basketball Championships is far from
a formality for Israel after the blue-and-white was handed a relatively tough
draw in Freising, Germany, on Sunday.
Israel, which was in the second-
seed pot, was drawn into Group A with perennial powerhouse Serbia, up-and-coming
Montenegro as well as the weaker Slovakia, Estonia and Iceland.
two teams from the six qualifying groups and the four best third-placed teams
will make up the 16 sides who will join Spain, France, Russia, FYR of Macedonia,
Lithuania, Greece, Great Britain and the hosts Slovenia in the EuroBasket 2013
The qualifiers will take place next summer between August 15
and September 11.
Three-time European champion Serbia (1995, 1997, 2001)
will be Israel’s toughest opponent, although it disappointed in last summer’s
EuroBasket tournament, beating Israel before finishing in 8th place two years
after claiming a silver medal.
Israel also faced Montenegro in the 2011
qualifiers, winning at home and losing on the road.
Estonia hasn’t played
in the European Championships since 2001, while Slovakia and Iceland have yet to
make an appearance in the finals.
Israel’s women’s team, which has played
in the last three EuroBasket tournaments, was also done no favors by Sunday’s
draw, being placed in Group A with Belarus, Hungary, Ukraine and
The teams who finish in the top two positions in each group
will qualify for the Final Round in France, in 2013.