Yes. Short, sweet and to the point. Israel aims for Berlin knockout stage as host Czechia awaits

Sep 7, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

It’s do or die for Israel as they tip off against Czechia in their final group stage game for the right to head to Berlin and the knock out stages of the Eurobasket. The Blue & White are currently in 3rd place in Group D with a 2-2 record as they will need to down the host on their home court and in front of their home crowd in order to earn the right to play in the Round of 16.

It won’t be an easy task for sure, but Israel will not doubt be up for the challenge and will be focused to reach their goal. Guy Goodes’s squad played arguably their best game in the 89-78 loss to Serbia as Deni Avdija and Yam Madar combined for 34 points and looked as good as could be playing together for significant minutes for the first time under the Hapoel Holon bench boss.

Deni Avdija & Yam Madar – Photo Credit: FIBA

Why that hasn’t happened beforehand only the good Lord knows and Avdija’s father Zufer who gave a scathing interview to a Serbian outlet about his son’s status with the team and in fact that he should have chosen to play for Serbia instead of Israel.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Madar said. “We played well, we fought. We represented Israel and we want the people watching to be proud. We didn’t break but it wasn’t enough. All in all, I’m proud of us.”

But let’s put that aside for now and focus on the on court issues, which seemed to have played out just fine in the loss to Serbia as Goodes reduced his rotation which will most probably be the case against Ronen “Neno” Ginzburg’s Czech Republic team. The Israeli tactician will once again most probably have Tomas Satoransky in the lineup for the finale, but the Barcelona man has been an absolute shell of himself offensively. This is due to the ankle injury that he incurred during the warmup games ahead of the Eurobasket and has not been able to get his shot off with much accuracy, however, he did come back and dish out 10 assists in the last game against Finland.

Tomáš Satoranský – Photo Credit: FIBA

“This is a game to go to Berlin and it’s tough to do that against a home team,” Goodes said. “But I believe that we will. It’s too bad that Czechia didn’t do what they needed to in order for us to advance and that would have solved plenty of issues. I met up with Neno in the hallway and he said that he tried but couldn’t do it.”

Satoransky will still be a threat and the fact that he is been playing is no less short of a miracle in itself as it had been expected that he would be unable to take part in the championships.

Without a healthy Satoransky, that makes Czechia’s job that much more difficult as Jan Vesely and the rest of the crew will need to step up and really use the energy from the crowd to their advantage. But in a game against an Israel squad which is more or less in decent shape and with an active Avdija and Madar, Goodes needs to just go for it and make sure that the team pays attention to the small details and little things which will effectively be what will make or break the game for the Blue & White.

Ronen “Neno” Ginzburg – Photo Credit: FIBA

“For sure it will be a crucial game against Israel and it’s against my country,” Ginzburg said. “I live here in the Czech Republic and I love the Czech Republic but it will be for sure be a lot of emotions and the best team should win.”

“They are a very smart team and can cover their weaknesses inside. Deni plays in the NBA and even if we play the way we did against Finland except the first 7-8 minutes, we can win this game.”

Goodes has been trying to push the pressure onto Czech Republic saying that since they are the home team the expectations are greater, but I’m reality Goodes needs to make sure his team wins this do or die game or else the squad will be on a plane on Friday heading back to Israel instead of making their way northbound to Berlin.

Guy Goodes – Photo Credit: FIBA

“This will be an exciting matchup as Neno is Israeli,” Goodes commented. “Add to the fact that he knows us and we know him. But at the end of the day there are players on the court who will decide the outcome and there will be a battle for 40 minutes.”

Israel is content with their performance against Serbia including Rafi Menco who spoke about how the team wants to bring the same type of attitude and play into the decisive matchup versus Czech Republic.

“If you look at how we played against this opponent then I believe that we played a very good game. Of course we wanted to win but we have a respectable performance. We came into the game after a very brutal loss (Poland) against an incredible team but first and foremost we battled and we gave them a tough time. There’s no way home from this upcoming game and we need to continue as to how we played against Serbia. We need to win any which way we can and it doesn’t matter how,” Menco commented.

Yam Madar – Photo Credit: FIBA

Madar also looked ahead to Thursday’s game, “It’s to be or not to be and we have to give our all to get to Berlin. The game against Serbia is now over and it’s not the time to look backwards but we are looking forward towards Czechia.”

“It’s 60/40 as they are the home team,l Goodes exclaimed. “They have that advantage being at home with their energy but we have players who have been in these types of situations before on the road. But we will come focused and give everything and hope that we can do what we need to and have a good game.”

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: FIBA

The most succinct comment about heading to Berlin on Friday can from Avdija when asked if Israel will be playing in the Round of 16, “Yes”.

Short, sweet and to the point.

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