01 - 09
July 2017
23 Tommaso Oxilia (ITA)
to read

Dreaming Italy prevail for all of country

CAIRO (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Italy's fairytale FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 summer continued against Spain, knocking off the fellow European powers in the Semi-Finals and reaching their first U19 global final since 1991.

Italy came back from 16 points down to beat Spain 66-63 to return to the Final for the first time in 26 years - when Italy lost to United States.

"What we did is amazing. It’s unbelievable. Believing this and putting all our hearts into this - especially today - is something amazing," Italian coach Andrea Capobianco said.

The coach said this victory in Egypt is for all of the country of Italy.

"This is indescribable. I am very proud of this victory and it's also a victory for all the basketball world in Italy," Capobianco said. "Starting from the president down to all the kids who played on playgrounds in Italy - just like me."

The coach was very impressed with the heart of his team, which trailed by 16 points in the first quarter - 22-6.

"It's a game of heart but also brain and fundamentals. Still behind all that are people with heart. And this team has heart too," said Capobianco, whose team has been less than convincing in reaching the Final against Canada.

I am very proud of this victory and it's also a victory for all the basketball world in Italy. - Capobianco

They struggled to beat Angola in their opener, gave up 98 points to United States and then essentially needed a buzzer beater to knock off Japan. Then came the shocking win over Lithuania - giving up just 68 points - before their win over Spain.

This run in Cairo shows that Italy are truly back among the elite in the world. Prior to finishing sixth at Crete 2015, Italy had not appeared at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in 20 years, dating back to 13th place in 1995. 

The win over Spain however keeps the dream alive of Italy's first crown - after having lost to the United States in the U19 final in 1991.

"This is exactly the first thing we talked about when we saw each other for the first time. We were here to dream and that’s exactly what we’re doing, living a dream," Capobianco said.