The Israel Women’s National Team will tip-off its EuroBasket 2023 campaign with a tough matchup against Belgium on Thursday evening as the blue-and-white will play host to two of the competition’s groups at the Drive-In Arena in Tel Aviv.
The European Championship will have a pair of groups of four teams each being hosted both in the Holy Land as well as in Slovenia, where the final stages of the tournament will also take place. In addition to opening up against Belgium, head coach Sharon Drucker’s squad will also play Italy on Friday and Czechia on Sunday in the hope of advancing directly to the last stages in Ljubljana or at least playing in a Play-In game on Monday.
“Our expectation, if someone knows the history of women’s basketball and the EuroBasket, our goal is to show something special,” Drucker said. “I think we have a group of ladies that are very determined and very big motivated – honestly, I haven’t seen this level of motivation in a long time. They want to go and play, to show, to prove and I think for all the fans, all the young generation that will come and watch our national team. Our goal is that they will see heart, they will see them giving the maximum on the floor and they will show pride.”
“We are all motivated, everyone here is behind us and we want to do the best to win and we want to win every game.”Teams captain Eden Rotberg
Look ahead to the first game
The team’s captain, Eden Rotberg, also looked ahead to the first game.
“I’m very excited,” Rotberg added. “It’s our dream to play here in front of our crowd, our families, everyone, it’s our honor. We come every game to win and Belgium is our first target. They are the second-best team overall, but we have to concentrate on ourselves. We have been working hard for a year-and-a-half for this moment and we have to show it.”
Drucker is also aware that playing Belgium is a tall task but one that his team will do the utmost to meet.
“The Belgium team is second in Europe and they deserve the respect, they earned it. But we are not looking at them but at us. We showed in the exhibition games that we can compete against medium-level teams now and Belgium is the highest, let’s see what we can do against them. They have 12 players, with a big rotation and we know it’s a challenge, but we want to take it. There are not a lot of weaknesses and we will try to attack right, keep turnovers low and use our defense. We have to bring something special, we have to bring heart.”
“We want to make history,” Rotberg said. “We are all motivated, everyone here is behind us and we want to do the best to win and we want to win every game.”