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19 February, 2024
25 February, 2025
10 Ognjen Jaramaz (SRB)
26/02/2024
Review
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Eight teams still perfect after first EuroBasket Qualifiers window

MUNICH (Germany) - The curtain was drawn on the opening window of the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Qualifiers on Monday night with Estonia pulling off a historic victory over Lithuania to join France, Greece and Serbia in moving to 2-0 in their respective groups.

A total of eight teams enjoyed perfect starts across the eight groups - with Belgium and Latvia topping Group C together with two wins each and Group D being a free-for-all as all four teams are 1-1 with home wins in the first window. The other countries with a perfect first window were Slovenia and Italy.

Speaking of Belgium and Latvia, they each helped highlight a first window that was packed with major upsets and near surprises across the continent.

Latvia and Belgium - ranked No. 8 and 39 respectively in the FIBA World Ranking, Presented by Nike - both shocked world number two and reigning EuroBasket champions Spain in Group C.

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Latvia remained the hottest team in the world since March 2021 with a 23-3 record over that span, while Belgium continued to cause headaches for the traditional powerhouses, having defeated Serbia twice in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers.

Spain for their part were unable to take advantage of the emotional return to basketball of veteran playmaker Ricky Rubio. And now head coach Sergio Scariolo and his team must re-group for the next window in November 2024.

World number 3 and freshly crowned FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 champions Germany couldn't avoid being upset either as world number 45 Bulgaria pulled a major surprise with a 67-62 home win in Group D.

 

Group H also gave us a major upset as Estonia captured their first-ever victory over Lithuania with a 65-59 win for sole possession of first place.

 

Two other eye-openers were Denmark beating Georgia 75-69 at home in a crucial win in Group G and Portugal upending Ukraine 79-77 on the road for their first EuroBasket Qualifiers win since 2016.

Netherlands nearly booked their first win over Greece in 42 years but ended up falling 74-72 to the Greeks.

 
Group B also nearly had two undefeated teams - not to mention another major upset - as Iceland thought they had joined Italy with two wins. Iceland had rallied back from 10 points down in Turkiye and led with 3.6 seconds to go, but Tarik Biberovic hit a turn-around fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to give the hosts a 76-75 victory in one of the most thrilling finishes in the first window.

A total of 13,300 fans came out to the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul to see the thrilling win over Iceland. That was the biggest crowd of the window as fans across the continent showed how much they missed national team basketball.

12,439 fans came out for Greece vs Czechia at the Peace and Friendship Stadium

Four games drew at least 10,000 spectators - including 12,439 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus to see Vassilis Spanoulis' head coaching debut for Greece, and a total of 13 games were either sold out or had at least 90 percent capacity. 

Everything is open still in the groups in terms of who will advance. In general, the top three teams from Groups A, B, D and F will reach FIBA EuroBasket 2025.

 

 

The other four groups include the four co-host nations - Cyprus (Group E), Finland (Group G), Latvia (Group C) and Poland (Group H) - who will also automatically reach the continental showcase. That means the top two finishers of those four groups besides the co-hosts will also move on to next summer's big show.

The next window of games will be played from November 21-25, 2024 with the final set of Qualifiers to take place February 20-24, 2025.

FIBA