EuroBasket 2007 - a preview of the 2008 Olympics Basketball Championship

This year's European Basketball championship might as well be the preview of the finals for next years Olympics Basketball championship. Well, to the Americans, at least half of it is. Why not? 2006 FIBA World Defending champions Spain is part of this league. The Eurobasket 2007 tournament is almost at it's end & most of the "regulars" are in the quarterfinals already. Defending champions Spain, although guaranteed a seat at the 2008 Olympics basketball competition will be facing Germany later this day. The Lithuanian & Russian Basketball teams are looking good this year with the Lithuanians still unbeaten as of writing. They battle the Croatian Basketball Team on Friday while the Russian Basketball teams are in a tight game right at this moment against NBA player Tony's Parker's French Basketball Team. Their score is tied at 53-53 according to the Eurobasket 2007 Official Website. The top 2 teams of this year's Eurobvsket tournament will join Spain as the Olympic qualifiers from Europe for the 2008 Olympics Basketball competition.

Here are the other qualifiers for next years Olympics basketball competition according to FIBA:

2 teams directly qualified:
- The host nation: CHINA
- The Gold medalist of the 2006 FIBA World Championship: SPAIN

7 teams directly qualified through the Continental Championships:
- Africa (1 team): ANGOLA
- Americas (2 teams): USA and ARGENTINA
- Asia (1 team): IRAN
- Europe (2 teams): to be determined during the final stage of EuroBasket 2007
- Oceanía (1 team): AUSTRALIA

3 teams qualified through the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men:

The World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men will be played in mid-July 2008, in a place to be determined, and will decide the final 3 berths for Beijing 2008. The best placed non-qualified teams for the Olympic Games from the 5 Zones will be entitled to participate in the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men. It will be a 12-team tournament which will feature: 2 participants from Africa (Cameroon and Cape Verde), 3 from the Americas (Puerto Rico, Brazil and Canada), 2 from Asia (Lebanon and Korea), 4 from Europe (to be determined) and 1 from Oceania (New Zealand).

Should any of the above-mentioned invited team(s) not accept the invitation, the next best non-qualified team(s) from the same Zone will be entitled to participate. The organizer and venue of the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men will be decided amongst the candidatures received from the 12 participant teams during the Central Board meeting that will take place in Chicago (USA) on 8th and 9th December 2007. The bidding process to stage the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men will start as of next week, once the EuroBasket has finalized and therefore once all 12 participating teams in this event are known.

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Click here for the Official Website of FIBA

Click here for the Official Website of EuroBasket 2007

Here's some related news from this year's Eurobasket competition: Please follow the link

Russia Aim To End Long Wait - Russia hope being back on Spanish soil will help them break their run of bad luck and make it to the last four of the EuroBasket for the first time in 10 years when they face France in today’s first quarter-final. The Russians came in third back in 1997 when the competition was last held in Spain, but have since failed to reach the final four and instead saw their results get gradually worse. They finished fifth two years in 1999, sixth two years later and have not done better than eighth in the last two tournaments. As for France, they will try to make it back to the semi-finals after reaching that stage of the competition in Belgrade two years ago with a win over then defending champions Lithuania. Last month, these two teams met in a warm-up game with France cruising to a 92-56 win in Paris.

Germany Face Big Hurdle Against Hosts - Germany lived to fight another day by beating Italy to reach the quarter-finals of the EuroBasket, but now world champions Spain stand in their way. The hosts, who lost to Croatia to finish second in Group B, have rebounded nicely with victories over Greece, Russia and Israel to win their qualifying round group. Pau Gasol played just 18 minutes against the Israelis but scored 26 points, and Jose Calderon provided further evidence that he is on the verge of super stardom with 15 points off the bench on seven of 10 shooting from the floor. Calderon is shooting 40% (eight of 20) from three-point range in this tournament.

Pietrus Right At Home With France - Looking at the various qualities of Florent Pietrus, it's hard to imagine the French forward has yet to really stamp his name on the European game. The 26-year-old Guadeloupe native has all the tools to be a superstar - amazing athleticism and jumping ability, stifling defense, great heart, good slashing skills and now increased shooting range. But Pietrus struggled to gain significant playing time with Unicaja Malaga over the past three seasons, never averaging more than four points or four rebounds for the Spanish Euroleague side. At the 2007 EuroBasket, however, Pietrus is an integral part of the French national team's run to the quarter-finals, averaging 10 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action, while shooting 36% (4-of-11) from three-point range.

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