Israel dealt tricky EuroBasket group

National team draws Serbia, Germany, France, Italy and Latvia.

Casspi national team 311 (photo credit: AP)
Casspi national team 311
(photo credit: AP)
Israel was handed an interesting draw for the upcoming EuroBasket tournament in Lithuania, being placed on Thursday in Group B with Serbia, Germany, France, Italy and Latvia.
Only the top three teams in each group will advance to the next stage, with superiorly seeded Serbia, Germany and France set to be Israel’s main opponents for a place in the last 12.
The national team will be playing in the European Championships for a 10th straight time, qualifying as one of the two best runnersup after recording a 5-3 record in a group which also included Italy and Latvia, as well as group winner Montenegro and last-placed Finland.
Italy and Latvia eventually were gifted a place in the tournament by FIBA Europe, which inexplicably decided that the championships will be contested by 24 teams instead of 16 following the qualifying campaign.
Israel showed plenty of potential over its eight qualifiers and will be looking to make some noise in Lithuania.
After ending the last championships with a 0-3 record, the first time the blue-andwhite finished the European Championships without a victory in 25 appearances, Israel has got plenty to prove in Lithuania, and will be hoping to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003.
Israel will face Germany, which could have NBA star Dirk Nowitzki on its roster, in its group opener on August 31 before facing France the following day.
Arik Shivek’s men will then play Serbia on September 2 before dueling with Latvia two days later and wrapping up their group games against Italy on September 5.