Standard Life Great Britain are gearing up for their toughest test on home soil, as they square-off against the favourites to win Group B F.Y.R. of Macedonia at the newly built Sport Central complex in Newcastle on Sunday.
Coach Chris Finch’s side have the one win under their belts at present time, as they defeated Hungary in Szolnok 91-82. Finch though is aware that this is the tougher test – and has studied his opponents at length and admits they pose few weaknesses and will be tough to break down.
“We know they are very good, experienced and full of players that can shoot the ball from three-point territory” he said.
“They are fast and physical as well, and they’re a very complete team without many weaknesses.”
Finch then spoke about a game-plan he has drawn up against the FYR Macedonians, who are 2-0 thus far – winning away in the Ukraine 71-58 and more recently, thumping Hungary 78-44 in the capital, Skopje. Without giving too much away, Finch commented: “We scout all our opponents live as well as on DVD . We feel we have a very good handle on them and what they are trying to do. The challenge, as ever, is stopping them. We must take away the strengths of their key players both inside and out.”
Finch was happy with his side’s display in Hungary on Monday night, but admits that there is room for improvement – and it must come in Newcastle tomorrow afternoon.
“We executed our stuff well, we guard very well at times and we rebounded consistently. We didn’t start the game or the 3rd quarter very well and we didn’t take the best shots. We need to improve on all aspects of our game and keep growing as a team to be successful on Sunday as well as in the group.
“We are fully fit and we do not expect any significant changes to our core line-up. We will however need a bit more bench production from a few more guys than we had in Hungary”.
FYR of Macedonia come into this game with a lot of confidence, having won their first two games comfortably. But Great Britain will no doubt be the fresher of the two teams – having played a game less. Which might work in favour of the hosts, as at this time, the Sport Central’s heating system has broken-down – as the venue indoors is going through a heat wave, as staff try to resolve the problem before tip-off at 16:00 tomorrow.
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net