The Czechs are playing in their O2 arena and they should be favorites not only because of this fact. However, there is one BUT. In the case of the host country a large BUT. The question is whether the biggest Czech star Tomáš Satoranský will start the opening match (he decided to train in the evening). In recent days, he worked intensively to heal his injured ankle. He even enlisted the help of a renowned specialist from the US, a physiotherapist named Naveen Hettiarachchi.
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They say they pay this magician a lot of money just to get him back on his feet. And literally, especially on the right one. One thing is certain, Tomáš Satoranský will appear on the list that the management of the national team reported to FIBA. “Tomáš’s condition is improving, although the recovery time was very short. Finally, after considering all the circumstances and risks, he decided to give it a try. We’ll all be hoping his ankle holds up. His situation will be dealt with on a match-by-match basis. He will certainly not be at one hundred percent, and the minutes will not be what we are used to with him. But he should be able to join the game at this point. The question is whether in all matches,” national team doctor Pavel Říman sends an encouraging message to the Czech basketball nation.
Watch out for Ponitka with Slaughter
It was Satoransky who, in Shanghai three years ago, incited his team to turn around. During the first quarter, the Czechs lost significantly when the Czech leader did not intervene on the field, but on the bench. After his fiery speech at the time out, a completely different team came back on the board and went on to win 94:84. The line-ups have changed a lot since then. All the wins in Poland will no longer matter. “Each match is a separate episode. The Poles have an interesting mix of players, including guards Ponitka and Slaughter. They have other supports as well, but these two will create the play and take the most shots. Ponitka has a much bigger role than in the past,” informs Czech assistant Luboš Bartoň.
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A thorough observation of the opponent is a useful thing in team sports, which can tell a lot. However, without your own performance, scouting sounds lost. “We have some tactics for them, but it’s more about us, with what energy we will start. We have to start at a higher pace than in the qualifier against Hungary. We are certainly mainly dealing with defense and also to keep the freshest people on the pitch. Especially on the perimeter. In the last matches, we struggled with absences, so let’s hope that with more rotation, the shortcomings in our game will disappear,” says the former representative regarding the personnel issue.
Just close to the sold out hall
In recent years, the Czech native has proven himself that he can compete with anyone and beat practically anyone. The Lions have accumulated tons of experience in battles with basketball powerhouses. Another asset of the team is togetherness, which resembles a family atmosphere. “The guys have been together for a long time and they’ve been through a lot of tough battles. The Polish team may not be as talented, but they are definitely a resilient team that can cause problems for anyone. We can get caught up in his special defenses. But if we play with high energy and concentration, then we should be able to win the match,” says Bartoň.
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According to the latest information, the O2 arena is about to sell out. The last tickets have been released for the match between the traditional rivals, which are disappearing from the promotion portals. While it is not yet completely sold out in Poland. During Saturday’s match against Serbia, the arena will be bursting at the seams. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch how the Czech players will fight with the star Nikola Jokic.