- National Teams
Great Britain’s Senior Women could be set for a dramatic final window as they aim to return to EuroBasket this summer.
Despite sitting bottom of Group G with one win from their four games so far, GB are still in the mix to qualify as they host Estonia [1-3] and Portugal [2-2] in Manchester this week.
Greece [4-0] are in pole position to take the automatic spot as group winners, which likely leaves the other three teams fighting it out for second place in order to have a chance of claiming one of the four spots available to the best-ranked runners-up.
Note: GB cannot win the group, though Portugal still have a chance to do so.
With wins against the bottom-placed team in groups of four are disregarded when it comes to the runners-up ranking, this perhaps works more favourable for GB than Portugal. For example, if Estonia finish bottom (with a loss to GB included) then Portugal would lose both of their wins against them, whereas GB would only drop one having previously lost to Estonia.
Note: Results are disregarded in groups of four in order to create a fairer comparison between groups of three.
GB beat Estonia, lose to Portugal – Beating Estonia would set up a decisive encounter with Portugal for second spot. It was a fascinating battle in Portugal in the last window and this could be even more dramatic this time around.
GB lose to Estonia, beat Portugal – This scenario has some layers to it. If GB were to lose (again) to Estonia, then they would only be eliminated should either Portugal or Estonia beat Greece.
Two wins for Greece along with GB beating Portugal would set up a three-way tie for second spot with each team on a 2-2 record within the head-to-head. The problem here is that Portugal beat Estonia by a combined winning margin of 43 points, and GB (at best – losing to Estonia by 1) would be +4 and needing a big win over Portugal to overcome the PD gap.
GB win BOTH games – This is the only scenario GB will be concerned about. Win both games, take care of what you control and this will secure second place in the group regardless of the other results involving Greece.
Needless to say that they would be out with two defeats. So, on the basis that GB do indeed finish in second place, they then need to be one of the top-four ranked runners-up.
Note: Runners-up from groups that involved Russia and Belarus cannot qualify. This leaves eight runners-up in contention, but could also be reduced further to six if Slovenia and Israel finish in second spot in their respective groups as they are already qualified as co-hosts.
It seems possible that all ‘six’ teams could have a 2-2 record if likely results play out (always expect the unexpected) and thus points difference becomes the decisive factor. If Estonia do finish bottom and GB beat Portugal to finish second, they would be 2-2 and adding to a -7 points difference.
They would probably need to be getting that into the positive based on projections of other groups, but of course that depends on winning margins and results elsewhere. And, with other games following GB on Sunday, it may be a nervy watch to see how those points differences shape up.
Some helpful results to look out for on Thursday: (big) wins for France, Belgium and Serbia.
Simple, right? Don’t worry, we’ll try to keep you updated as the week plays out.
GB’s games will be live on the BBC Sport website/red button with tickets still available for both games in Manchester – use code HF10 for 10% off