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U16 Women's Games: Friday 12 August
UDINE (FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016) - We take a look at the games on the fifth day at the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016, including some mouth-watering Quarter-Final match-ups.
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Germany find themselves in the Quarter-Finals for the first time and Belarus for the first time in ten years. The athleticism, size and high tempo of Germany have all been impressive and reasons for them going 4-0, so these are factors Belarus must contend with as both teams reach out towards the last four.
It's another team yet to taste defeat in France who are now the favourites of many to climb to the top of the podium. They have generally powered their way past all their opponents with their impressive depth. But this is likely to be a true challenge of their title credentials, since Lithuania have only lost once themselves and that makes it an intriguing battle. Lithuania must pick up their game on the glass.
The reigning champions are one of four unbeaten teams in Udine and have used their shooting abilities, ball movement and effectiveness in transition to go to 4-0. Anezka Kopecka has been particularly impressive for the holders. Spain have been less convincing but their rich tradition in this competition makes them perennial title challengers and it could well be the game of the day.
Italy have used their home support to catapult them into the Quarter-Finals. Having had some wobbles in the Round of 16 against Portugal, they now have a great chance of the Semi-Finals against Croatia who have punched above their weight. Yet Croatia have two standout players in Mihaela Lazic and Lucija Kostic and so will be dangerous.
Turkey are still searching for their first victory in Udine and this would be a good time to get it, since it would preserve their Division A status. Both teams have lacked firepower so far and need someone to make some shots consistently - especially from long-range.
This will be a test of mental strength for both teams and for different reasons. Hungary have to pick themselves up from a heart-breaking and very narrow Round of 16 loss to Lithuania, while Serbia were dismantled by France and have still not found a way to win.
It was an agonising Round of 16 for Russia who lost by a single point and now find themselves in relatively unfamiliar territory fighting relegation. They face a Slovak Republic team yet to dig out a victory but who will have more confidence after a much improved display in their last game.
Portugal will also be boosted after their encouraging performance against Latvia as they try to record a first win on Italian soil. They play a Latvia team who will take most people's award for under-achievement, since they had been expected to challenge for a medal. Instead they have to fight for their Division A life and can't afford to be complacent.