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Swedes, Dutch gain split in Pre-Qualifiers warm-ups
WEERT (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers) - Sweden and the Netherlands stepped up their preparations for next month's FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers by playing in a couple of friendly games over the weekend.
Vedran Bosnic's Scandinavian side won the first encounter, 79-63, in Den Helder after having five players reach double digits in scoring.
Viktor Gaddefors' 15 points were a team-high while Tobias Borg and Markus Eriksson poured in 14 apiece.
"The first training games are always the most difficult," Bosnic said. "We have worked hard for nine days and at this stage, it is important to prepare ourselves physically, find the shape and integrate all the players in the system."
Bosnic liked his team's intensity and effort on defense.
"The entire team gave everything and we must continue on this path," he said. "We played a very physical game, at the level we strive for, for 25 minutes. The reactions and decision-making on defense in the second half, where we kept the Netherlands at only 23 points, that pleased me. We have to continue on the same track as good defense and the collective game is our only chance to take us further in the summer."
The second meeting in Weert, however, was won by the home side, the Netherlands. Toon Van Helfteren's side prevailed, 69-62.
Henk Norel and Roeland Schaftenaar, members of the Dutch team that played at FIBA EuroBasket 2015 in Zagreb, led the way with 13 points apiece.
In the Pre-Qualifiers, Sweden will play in Group A with the Slovak Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Armenia. The Netherlands will compete in Group B with Albania and Austria.
The top two sides from all four groups will reach the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, which tip off in November.