Follow FIBA on Facebook
Daily Tracker: Heartbreak for Denmark, all 24 participants confirmed
MUNICH (Germany) - The February window has all the remaining answers ahead of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Final Round. Our Daily Tracker is here to help you follow the proceedings day by day.
The games of the final Qualifiers window are being played in eight locations across the continent. Group A teams are in Gliwice, Poland; Group B action takes place in Perm, Russia; Group C squads are having a sense of deja vu because they are back in Vilnius, Lithuania; and the same can be said about Group D since they are in Istanbul once again.
Group E teams are in Tbilisi, Georgia; Group F in Kiev, Ukraine; Group G in Podgorica, Montenegro; and, finally, Group H teams are playing their games in Riga, Latvia. The FIBA EuroBasket 2022 will be played in Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy and Germany.
Gameday 6 (Monday, February 22)
Group B in Perm, Russia; Group C in Vilnius, Lithuania; Group D in Istanbul, Turkey; Group F in Kiev, Ukraine; Group G in Podgorica, Montenegro; Group H in Riga, Latvia
The last two tickets were punched on Monday. In a bizarre game, Estonia did their best to avoid going to overtime and giving North Macedonia five more minutes to chase the nine-point gap from the first matchup. At the same time, North Macedonia tried to avoid winning in regulation, but did so once Nenad Dimitrijevikj's off-balance three-pointer went in to make it 86-84. That meant Estonia picked up the tiebreaker, confirmed their third place in the group, behind Italy and Russia.
The last team to advance was none other than perennial medal contenders Lithuania. Their qualification could not have been more dramatic, it all came down to the last possession of the Qualifiers, and Mantas Kalnietis played the role of the national hero once again, blocking Denmark's Adama Darboe's last gasp layup to protect a 77-76 win.
With Estonia and Lithuania getting the last two spots at the Final Round, we now know all 24 participants at the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 in Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany and Italy. The date and the venue of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 draw will be announced at a later stage.
Points: Ovie Soko put up a monster performance, scoring 27 points to lead Great Britain to a massive 94-73 win over France.
Rebounds: Jacob Wiley pulled down 14 rebounds to go along with his 18 points for North Macedonia, while Kenan Kamenjas grabbed the same amount of rebounds to give Bosnia and Herzegovina an 80-61 win over Bulgaria. Kamenjas was also the top scorer for BIH with 17 points.
Assists: Deyan Karamfilov of Bulgaria dished out 9 assists. Vitaliy Zotov had 9 assists for Ukraine against Hungary (97-63), and Dimitrios Katsivelis was also in the mood for 9 assists to help Greece take down Latvia 97-94.
Steals: Emir Sulejmanovic is having a tremendous year with Lenovo Tenerife and Bosnia and Herzegovina, it's not very often that you see a seven footer pick up 5 steals in a game. Sulejmanovic did it against Bulgaria.
Blocks: Jacob Wiley again, 3 blocks for North Macedonia, with Johan Willem Van Zegeren also blocking 3 shots for the Netherlands in a 74-59 defeat to Sweden.
Gameday 6 (Sunday, February 21)
Group A in Gliwice, Poland; Group B in Perm, Russia; Group E in Tbilisi, Georgia; Group F in Kiev, Ukraine
Sunday turned out to be a quiet day in terms of FIBA EuroBasket 2022 tickets. Nobody qualified, and that happened because North Macedonia defeated Italy 87-78, while Estonia lost to Russia 75-52 and stayed just one win ahead of North Macedonia. Estonia do own a 9-point advantage from the first matchup, but North Macedonia will like their head-to-head chances against Estonia in the final game of the group on Monday.
The only other big news was the fact that there are no more unbeaten teams in the entire FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers field. Israel entered their final game at 5-0, and put up a fight against the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 winners Spain, but in the end suffered a 78-73 defeat to finish at 5-1. Spain take second place in Group A at 4-2, Poland's 3-3 was also enough to secure qualification to the Final Round.
Points: Michal Michalak counted to 24 to help Poland to an 88-81 win over Romania. Michalak knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers, and made all six of his shots from the charity stripe.
Rebounds: Giorgi Shermadini pulled down 12 rebounds to go along with his 19 points, but his double-double did not guide Georgia towards a win. Shermadini will hear all about it, since Georgia lost to Giorgi's club teammate Sasu Salin and Finland, 78-70 the final score.
Assists: Never a surprise to see Tamir Blatt's name here. Israeli point guard looked more aggressive than usual as he picked up 9 points and 9 assists against Spain.
Steals: Switzerland lost to Serbia, another 88-81 game, but Jonathan Kazadi stole the show. Literally - 13 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and a day-high 6 steals.
Blocks: Elias Valtonen of Finland and Rares Uta of Romania had 3 blocks each.
Gameday 5 (Saturday, February 20)
Group C in Vilnius, Lithuania; Group D in Istanbul, Turkey; Group F in Kiev, Ukraine; Group G in Podgorica, Montenegro; Group H in Riga, Latvia
It was a combination of push me, pull you on Gameday 3, with teams carrying each other to the Final Round. This was the scenario in Group D, where the Netherlands defeated Croatia 65-57, effectively sending Turkey to FIBA EuroBasket 2022, because Turkey claimed the tiebreaker over Sweden with an 88-80 triumph earlier in the day.
In Group G, Great Britain needed a buzzer beater to take down Germany 83-81 - and with France getting a close 73-71 win over Bubble hosts Montenegro, Luke Nelson's game winner turned out to be the shot that sent GB to the Final Round.
Montenegro weren't the only unlucky Bubble host of the day, as Latvia suffered yet another single point defeat in their campaign. Bulgaria's 66-65 win ended Latvia's run of nine straight FIBA EuroBasket appearances, but also their own 10-year-long drought. Bulgaria last played the Final Round back in 2011.
Speaking of runs, Belgium continued their own run, reaching their fifth straight FIBA EuroBasket with a +23 win against Denmark. With Lithuania beating Czech Republic 94-74, we are all set for the final showdown: Denmark v Lithuania on Monday, winner gets the final Group C ticket!
Points: Alperen Sengun did a bit of everything for Turkey with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Jerome Randle also scored 24, helping Ukraine to a 70-65 victory over Slovenia.
Rebounds: Emir Sulejmanovic grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with his 23 points to lead Bosnia and Herzegovina to a 15-point win over Greece.
Assists: Same game, Amar Gegic with 10 assists.
Steals: Same man, Amar Gegic with 5 steals. He also had 9 points and a couple of rebounds in his all-round performance.
Blocks: Maik Zirbes blocked five British shots, but could not help Germany to a win.
Gameday 5 (Friday, February 19)
Group A in Gliwice, Poland; Group B in Perm, Russia; Group E in Tbilisi, Georgia; Group F in Kiev, Ukraine
A busy day saw us handing out tickets for the Final Round in multiple places. Russia defeated North Macedonia in front of the home crowd in Perm and advanced along with Italy. Estonia did manage to upset the previously unbeaten Italian squad, but they still aren't mathematically through from Group B.
Georgia also suffered their first defeat, dropping to 4-1 in a game which saw the reigning runners-up Serbia advance to the Final Round - it was a result also celebrated in Finland, because Serbia's rise to 3-2 along with Finland's win over Switzerland meant that Susijengi are safe in Group E no matter what happens on the final Gameday.
Group F saw the most dramatic way to punch a ticket - Szilard Benke banked in a triple in overtime to give Hungary their third win of the campaign. Fifth defeat in as many games means that Austria cannot advance, as Slovenia, Hungary and Ukraine are now confirmed for FIBA EuroBasket 2022.
In Group A, Israel defeated Romania 79-71, which makes them the only team at 5-0, and also sends Poland through because Romania fell to 0-5 and can't pick up two wins in one remaining game.
Points: Maik-Kalev Kotsar poured in 32 points for Estonia against Italy, hitting 15-of-22 shots from the field. Ironically, Estonia were a -2 team with him on the floor in their 105-101 overtime win...
Rebounds: Same game, different team - Michele Vitali is a shooter, but he found a way to grab 9 rebounds. Rasid Mahalbasic had the same amount for Austria, but could not prevent a dramatic defeat to Hungary.
Assists: Back to Estonia. Sten Sokk played 26 minutes, missed all four of his field goal attempts, but dished out a day-high 14 assists.
Steals: Elias Valtonen is another interesting Finnish prospect, who will turn 22 over the summer. He showed he's not afraid to get his hands dirty in the Qualifiers, picking up 4 steals against Switzerland. That takes him to 2.0 steals per game in the Qualifiers, and he plays less than 25 minutes per game.
Blocks: Multiple players had 2 blocks.
Gameday 5 (Thursday, February 18)
Group B in Perm, Russia; Group F in Kiev, Ukraine
North Macedonia haven't been in action for almost a year, but showed no signs of rust as they put together a brave effort against Italy. They led by as many as 8 points, and the Nenad Dimitrijevikj-Jacob Wiley tandem played with so much passion that they earned a lot of points with the Russian crowd.
View this post on Instagram
However, Italy responded in a big way, scoring 29 points over the last 10 minutes to celebrate a 92-84 win. Meo Sacchetti's boys are up to 4-0 in the Qualifiers, keeping North Macedonia at 0-3. Both teams are back in action on Friday.
There were no fans in Kiev, Ukraine to witness Hungary's first defeat of the Qualifiers. Slovenia picked up an 84-72 win by keeping the ball moving, as evident by a 22-9 advantage in assists. The defending champions already booked their ticket to the Final Round. Hungary are still without an asterisk next to their name in the standings, they are down to 2-1 and could still potentially be caught by Austria (0-4) in this window.
Points: North Macedonia's Nenad Dimitrijevikj and Slovenia's Jaka Blazic were both on fire on Thursday, scoring 24 points for their respective teams. Blazic knocked down six three-pointers, Dimitrijevikj missed all three of his, but 8 field goals and 8 free throws still gave him the highest tally of the day.
Rebounds: Bojan Trajkovski of North Macedonia had seven rebounds against Italy, who got seven rebounds from Giampaolo Ricci. The only difference was that Trajkovski grabbed all seven of his defensively, while Ricci picked up two offensive boards on the night.
Assists: Dimitrijevikj again, with 12 of them. Impressive, since Marco Spissu (9 assists) and Luka Rupnik (7 assists) were also in the mood for sharing.
Steals: Gregor Hrovat had five steals for Slovenia in just 21 minutes of action. The entire Hungarian team had five steals in the same game.
Blocks: Damjan Stojanovski struggled with his shot and only scored 3 points, but he did his part on the other end of the floor, erasing three Italian shots.