Israel cruise by weak Serbia 89-76

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In tonight’s Euro Qualifying game in Tel Aviv Israel beat Serbia with 89-76 and now shares the 2nd place in group A together with Serbia and Estonia.

To many this result was a big surprise, but not to the insiders. Serbia’s national team did not qualify for the London Olympics and was one of the worst teams at the European Championship in Lithuania in 2011.

Practically the same team ended 4th at the World Championship in Turkey in 2010, but that is not a true reflection of its quality because if two lucky buzzer beaters would have fallen the other way, then Serbia would not have ended 4th but more likely 15th.

Practically all club teams in Serbia have financial difficulties. A respectably club like Hemofarm will be no longer. Young talents sign at an ever younger age with Spanish teams after which nobody ever hears from them again. Waste of talent.

Serbia’s national team has solid players. Many of them play for top-club’s but all of them are role players who average five points per game off the bench. If they are not even good enough for a club team, how can they then be dominant on the world stage?

Serbia struggled in the first qualifying game against Iceland (population 200.000), then lost at home against Montenegro (population 500.000) and now against Israel. In between there were two victories against Slovakia and Estonia.

It is time for Serbia to face the truth. The country does not belong to the elite of Europe and definitively not to the world. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Serbia is a small country and not very rich. They still have a decent FIBA ranking. Not close to higher ranked teams like Brazil, China and Australia but still a couple of points ahead of Angola, New Zealand and Iran.

The problems of Serbian basketball are of a structural nature, so it is not likely that the country will reconnect with the world’s elite anytime soon. Maybe it is time to start all over? With a new coach and new young players? Or maybe it is time to leave the stubborn policy of coach Ivkovic not to select any NBA players?

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