TOKYO (Japan) – Australia and Slovenia both came very close to qualifying for the final. But they have to react quickly to not leave Japan without a medal, especially since this is their first time at the Olympics.
How hard is it to win a medal as a neophyte at the Olympics? The United States, Canada, and Mexico first entered the podium in 1936, but the Olympics debuted there. The Soviet Union finished second in 1952, followed by Croatia and Lithuania in the medal tally.
Finally, in 2016, Serbia participated in the tournament for the first time and came away with a silver medal. Slovenia can join the list on Saturday. Luca Doncic is aware of this unique opportunity that awaits him.
“I am very proud of this team,” the event said. “Everyone gave their maximum in the semifinals. We worked hard for two months to be here. I think we surprised a lot of people. We have one game left and we’re going to give it all back.”
Slovenia could become the 17th country to win a medal at the Olympics. There is a problem in Australia too.
The Boomers have already been in this position four times. They lost to the United States (78-49) in 1988, Lithuania (80-74) in 1996 and again (2000-71) against Lithuania in 2000, and at home in Sydney.
Five years ago in Rio, Australia played some great basketball, but the last two games suddenly ran out of juice. The fourth appearance in the last four, the fourth place for the Boomers, was defeated 89-88 by Spain in Brazil.
At the 2019 FIFA World Cup in China – this time add another 4th place – you will understand how important it is to win the last match of any tournament in which you participate, especially if you are an Australian.
Coach Brian Corgian knows it’s time to win the last game.
“These people have been involved in this for 12 years. I was not there before they came back this year,” the Australian manager said, realizing that his players were tired of attracting the sympathy of the basketball planet with emptiness.
“No matter how much you invest in something, it’s hard to accept when it’s over,” he notes. “When I entered the locker room, my message was clear: lift my head and look forward, be proud of who we are, what we did and who we stand for. Another deadline in front of us, with the key to the first medal possible, so we’re happy to try to capture it.”
The Georgian can be optimistic as he has defensive assets to test Luca Tansik. Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova have come up with two different styles, and he can bring one of the best defenders in the NBA, Matisse Thibulle, and his long arms or Dante Xum and all his energy.
Australia could play with two insiders, but could play smaller with the Ingels in fraud, which is similar to the tactic France used yesterday against the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket champions.
However, manager Alexander Sekulik has several options for facing Australia. Knowing the mental toughness of his team, it was no surprise that Clemens Preblick recovered himself from his system blocked by the bottom by pulling a big game in this battle for 3rd place.
Prebellik knows the feeling of winning Australia. He appeared with Aleksej Nikolic, Jaka Blazic and Zoran Dragic in the Slovenian team that beat Australia 90-80 in the group stage of the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Gran Canaria.
Dellavedova and Ingles were on the Australian side, as were Chris Golding, Dante Xum and Aaron Bains. Baines and Ingles have other painful memories against Slovenia, who lost to Slovenia (87-58) at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Istanbul. Grandma Mills also scored 13 points for the Boomers.
In direct matches, Slovenia leads 2-0. Saturday’s meeting will be the first in the structure of the Olympics.