Almere (Netherlands), 4 July 2022 – Mission accomplished for theItalbasket that – at the first official exit from Italian coach of Gianmarco Pozzecco – the Holland of the Italian coach Maurizio Buscaglia 92-81 folds and closes in first place the group H of the first phase of qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup. Very solid solid performance that of the Azzurri, who today found several pillars of their roster, absent in the friendly against Slovenia, including a sumptuous Simone Fontecchio who finished with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks given. On the shields in the ranks of the Italbasket, however, too Marco Often and Achilles Polonara who took home 15 points each. To the “Orange”, who despite the final gap and a chase that lasted for the whole of the 40 ‘have always remained in the game, the 30 points of the former Trento Yannick Franke were not enough.
Italy took the field with the right mentality and an immediately inspired Fontecchio: in fact, all their own, the initial 8-0 of the Azzurri, to which the Netherlands tried to respond with a couple of flames from Vuurst de Vries. However, when Tonut also took the chair with his accelerations, the advantage of Pozzecco’s men went up in double figures (7-17). It therefore took De Jong five points in a row for the Netherlands to find the key to the problem and close the opening fraction at -5 (17-22). At the start of the second fraction, Italy then tried again to stretch with another 8-0 earned +13, but the Netherlands, with Schaftenaar’s shot from outside (8/14 from three in the first 20 ‘for the hosts) and Franke’s first jabs, managed not to lose track of the Azzurri, however able to return to the locker room at +11 with the plays of Polonara, Spissu and Tonut and a Fontecchio with 17 points in 20 ‘(43-54).
After the mid-race break, Italy has further raised the advantage bar up to +15 (43-58) but at the same time having exhausted the bonus fouls in less than 4 ‘, keeping alive the hopes of the hosts, increasingly clinging to Franke, inspirer of the -8 “Orange” 10 ‘from the end (64-72). The script therefore remained unchanged in the final fraction in which Italy held the reins of the match, trying to protect itself from the assaults of Franke and his teammates and closing the score thanks to Polonara, Spissu and Fontecchio’s triple 1 ‘from the end.