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U16 Women's Games: Saturday 13 August
UDINE (FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016) - We take a look at the games on the penultimate day of the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016 in Udine, including the Semi-Finals.
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It's more history for Germany as they play their first ever Semi-Final. They are yet to be defeated in this edition of the competition on what is already their greatest campaign and they go up against a France team also on 5-0 and looking particularly menacing. However, Germany beat France during preparation so it promises to be a fascinating tussle.
The most successful nation in the history of the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship in Spain are looking to return to the podium after missing out on a medal last year in Matosinhos. They play an Italy team who took bronze in Portugal and weren't necessarily expecting a return. But behind great support from the locals in Udine, they have protected their impressive unbeaten record and anything now would be viewed as a bonus. Elena Vella and Sara Madera will carry the hopes of the hosts on their shoulders.
It's a derby game for the neighbours who might be disappointed they couldn't reach the last four, have already surpassed expectations and a top five finish would be considered an even bigger success. Both teams suffered big losses in the Quarter-Finals and Belarus in particular were panned on the glass.
Czech Republic will formally be former champions, in a little more than 24 hours and will want to relinquish their title with the highest possible finish against a Croatia team who were in tears after throwing a 13-point lead away against Italy in the Quarter-Finals.
Still to win, Serbia will have to produce consecutive victories to remain in the division and will be looking to exploit their height under the basket against a Sweden team who started well but have struggled offensively.
Something has to give when these two still winless sides and favourites for relegation go up against each other. The rewards are high as whoever wins will be 40 minutes away from safety heading into the last day of the tournament.
It's a case of mission accomplished for both nations who avoided the dreaded fall into Division B and will only be playing for pride. Turkey perhaps even more relieved and comfortable after getting their first success in Friday's clash against Sweden.
On the topic of national pride, this debry game is a repeat of a Group game from earlier in the competition when Latvia celebrated a memorable win against their neighbours so Russia will be gunning for revenge.