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Great Britain's men handed tough EuroBasket draw

Spain"s Pau Gasol (L) is blocked by Serbia"s Nenad Krstic

Spain beat Serbia to win EuroBasket 2009 in Poland

Great Britain's men's team have been drawn in a tough group, including holders Spain, for August's European Championship in Lithuania.

Coach Chris Finch's team also play the hosts and World Championship finalists Turkey as well as Poland.

The team, formed from the home nations in 2006, will be playing in a second successive EuroBasket finals.

They will find out on 12 or 13 March if world governing body Fiba will allow them to take part in the 2012 Olympics.

Spain and Turkey are the top two seeds in Group A and the addition of Lithuania makes the draw especially daunting for GB's hopes.

Andrew Sullivan
Sullivan's side face Spain, Lithuania and Turkey

The final group member will be known shortly before the tournament, with Hungary, Portugal and Finland playing in an additional qualifying group.

"Spain are very beatable - I don't care what anybody says, they're not the same Spain team had a couple of years ago," said GB captain Andrew Sullivan, who plays for the Mersey Tigers in Britain's BBL.

"We almost beat Turkey a year or two ago at the O2 and we didn't have Luol (Deng), Robert Archibald, or Pops (Mensah-Bonsu) on the court that day."

The GB captain has no anxieties about starting the GB campaign in Panevezys against the hosts

"If you're going to play in a group in a place like Lithuania you want to be playing them first - because if you beat them you're dealing a hammer blow to all the other teams," said Sullivan.

Great Britain lost all three games in the preliminary round in Poland two years ago after being drawn against three teams that went on to reach the semi-finals, although they went close to upsetting Spain, then world champions, who went on to win the title.

"We are going to get some scalps, we are going to win some games," said GB coach Chris Finch.

"Unfortunately we did not manage that last time but we feel we have learnt a lot to take into the tournament this time.

"The most important thing for us is, irrelevant of the group, that we get our strongest team together and if we can do that we have a chance to do some nice things."

Finch added: "I'm not sure that we entered that tournament in Poland as fresh, physically and mentally, as we needed to be.

"I also feel that we had a deep team but not a very balanced team. If we can have Luol and Ben (Gordon) and Pops and get a better balance - we weren't a million miles away last time."

Great Britain qualified for the tournament last August, topping a group containing Macedonia, Hungary, Ukraine and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Fiba Europe then decided to expand the 2011 tournament from 16 teams to 24.

The top three teams from each group will qualify for the second phase in Vilnius, where they will play three further round-robin matches against teams from another group.

The top four teams from the two second-phase groups will advance to Kaunas for the final stages.



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see also
GB's women handed tough Euro draw
11 Dec 10 |  Basketball
GB coach calls for access for all
28 Jan 11 |  Basketball
GB 'must invest to get 2012 spot'
20 Jan 11 |  Basketball
GB 'must work harder' for 2012
30 Jul 10 |  Basketball
Britain considers 2015 Euros bid
26 Nov 10 |  Basketball
Spain crowned kings of EuroBasket
20 Sep 09 |  Basketball


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