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August 2023
7 Mikk Jurkatamm (EST), 3 Kaspar Treier (EST)
17/08/2023
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Semi-Finals Preview: Who's making the Final in Poland-Estonia?

GLIWICE (Poland) - Four nations in Gliwice are now just two wins away from taking the one precious ticket to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024.

Looking ahead to Friday's Semi-Finals at the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Poland-Estonia, we break down the matchups.

Poland vs Estonia (17:30 CET)

This sees one of the strongest teams among all of the 2023 FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments against the surprise of the package. Despite this, a Semi-Finals that puts Poland and Estonia up against each other can’t be taken for granted following what the Tallinn hosts managed to achieve on home soil. 

Key matchups

This will be a moment to shine for Mateusz Ponitka  who is the best assists man of the tournament so far with 7.7 per game and Kristian Kullamae. The former has been so consistent since Day 1 in Gliwice, while the latter could find a higher gear after some average performances so far. Don’t forget Michal Sokolowski and Mikk Jurkatamm, who know each other well from shared times at club level in Italy.

X-Factor

Estonia have conceded 65 points or less in two games out of three, only leaving this number increased to 77 points when playing against the Czech Republic. But at the same time, they are the second-worst team in points scored per game at 74.7, while Poland's is the second-best at 82.0 per game. Therefore, if the Baltic national team wants to pull off another upset, it must keep the game rough and rely on their rugged defense. 

Stats don’t lie

If you’re expecting a game based on ISO and hero-ball, then you need to change your mind. Both Poland and Estonia are among the best teams at sharing the ball, respectively averaging 21.7 and 20.7 assists per game. These are the best numbers of this OPQT except for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s who average 26.0 per outing.

Did you know?

At the four 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments played in Lithuania, Canada, Croatia, and Serbia, nobody among the hosts advanced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. One between Poland and Estonia will fight for a spot at next year’s appointment and might just make it - although maybe with this in mind, they will think twice about applying to host another potential party. 


Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Israel (20:30 CET)

At the starting grid, the Israeli national team was expected to battle against the Czech Republic for first position in Group A. However, with the loss against Estonia, Vojtech Hruban’s team got eliminated and the group led by Yam Madar and Roman Sorkin still stood on top.

The big challenge is now ahead of the white and blues, who will face a hungry Bosnia and Herzegovina side that collected the same record as their opponents but with different ambitions. On paper, this looks like a balanced clash with the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team maybe slightly ahead as the favorite.

Key matchups

While the confrontation between Yam Madar and Dzanan Musa seems intriguing, maybe this game will be about Roman Sorkin’s big occasion and opportunity to shine. He will get to step up against an NBA center - whether it’s an experienced one like Jusuf Nurkic, the always reliable Amar Alibegovic, or an upcoming talent like Luka Garza.

X-Factor

It will all be about concentration and mental effort in this one. Israel is leading the whole competition in steals per game at 9.7, while Bosnia and Herzegovina is tied with the Czech Republic for most turnovers recorded per game with 15.3. However, if Aziz Bekir’s squad starts things up even half-similar to the blowout win against Hungary, the forecast of Bosnia and Herzegovina being marginal favorites could change quickly.

Stats don’t lie

Israel is by far the best rebounding team with 42.0 per game, the highest of the whole 2023 FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Poland-Estonia, but Bosnia and Herzegovina comes right after them in second position with 40.0 board per game. Those battles on the glass with the Bosnia and Herzegovina big men might be tough for Israel.

Did you know?

While Israel can only count on one participation at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Bosnia and Herzegovina have never made it. They can change this by staying on the Road to Paris 2024 with two consecutive victories in Gliwice and then a few more next year at the FIBA Qualifying Tournaments.

FIBA