A free kick separated Spain from the medals. “It’s a shame, because we deserved it”, recognizes Lucas Mondelo, who today will close his first championship with the National Team without getting on a podium: he had seven in a row.
The defeat against Belarus on the first day has had dire consequences. First, forced Spain to face the fearsome Serbia in the quarterfinals. A heads-up match, in which the National Team did not have the fortune of other times. Let’s remember: the Lyttle basket with which Spain took the gold in 2013, that 2 + 1 of Anna Cruz against Montenegro in the 2015 Eurobasket that was worth the semifinals, her shot over the horn against Turkey in the Rio Games for sneak up on the national team in the fight for medals … Luck did not smile on Spain on Wednesday, but it is also that it will play a place for the Australian World Cup against Russia, a sleeping giant, while on the other side of the table are Bosnia and Sweden, two opponents far inferior to that of the National Team for this sixth place.
Russia was for years the great Spanish nightmare. In 2011 he climbed to the top of the podium and then disappeared from the map. Little by little it comes back, especially because boasts Maria Vadeeva. The young Yekaterinburg center made her debut for her national team at just 16 years old and has grown at the pace of this new Russia. Until the Bosnian Jonquel Jones broke the record for rebounds in a game on Wednesday (24), the Russian boasted of having signed the top in the competition with 21 rejects. And the greatest proof of his potential is that he achieved it in 2017, when he was about to turn 19 years old. In this championship he averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists for a PIR of 23, the third most of all the Eurobasket after the Belgian Meesseman (33) and the Bosnian Jones (30). From his same generation (1998) is Raisa musina, forward for Dinamo Kursk and another of the jewels of Russian basketball: 12.6 points and 10.8 rebounds.
A rival with a lot of potential (and centimeters) but that Spain should not be afraid of. “It is a day to be brave, the mentality is the same as if we were playing a medal,” Mondelo warns. “There is more pressure, because it is not a game of joy, it is a match with less prize, but we are playing a World Cup”, adds the coach who gets something positive from the defeat against Serbia: “There is learning for the young women and these players will give us a lot of joy in the future.” With Laura Gil touchedOne of those young women (Raquel Carrera) will have to help out. Spain-Russia sounds like a final: without medals, but with a lot at stake.