They say third time lucky, and that most certainly seems to be the case for the Great Britain Senior Men’s side after managing to avoid the likes of Team USA, France and Argentina in the Olympic draw that was held today in Rio.
Over the past two Eurobaskets, GB have ended up in the “group of death” and despite getting a more favourable draw for London 2012, it is by no means easy. They will face Australia, Brazil, China, Spain plus one other qualifier in Group B, whilst Group A contains Argentina, France, Tunisia, USA and two other qualifiers.
The top four teams from each pool will advance to the seeded quarter finals.
GB have faced both China and Australia at the Olympic Test Event last year, defeating China 64-56 and falling just short of Australia, whilst European champions Spain will be the team to beat in the group. Brazil will be the biggest unknown for GB, having never matched up against them in any competition.
The last three teams will qualify via the 12-team FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Men taking place in Caracas, Venezuela, 2-8 July. The OQT (Men) teams are: Angola, Dominican Republic, FYROM, Greece, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Russia and hosts Venezuela.
Head coach Chris Finch is glad the preparation can now begin:
“At this level, there are no easy groups and today’s draw proved that every game at the Olympics will be really tough. The coaches and players have been waiting for this day for months, if not years. Now we can begin preparing for our opponents.”
According to the Telegraph, GB’s confirmed schedule is as follows:
July 29: GB v Qualifier 3
July 31: GB v Brazil
August 2: GB v Spain
August 4: GB v Australia
August 6: GB v China
The women had less of a favourable draw, though still managed to avoid USA, being put into a pool with world number 2 side Australia, Brazil, European champions Russia, and two other qualifiers. The GB women are yet to play Australia but will go head-to-head with the side before the Olympics in a warm up in Sheffield on 14th July 2012. When GB came up against Russia in EuroBasket finals 2011 they gave them a run for their money and lost by only three points, 62-59 in the dying seconds.
The Olympic Basketball Tournaments will take place from 28 July until 12 August at the Olympic Basketball Arena and the North Greenwich Arena.
What do you think about the draw? How are you feeling about GB’s chances?!