The Croatia men’s basketball team has suffered another shocking defeat in their qualification for the FIBA World Cup set to take place in 2019.
The Croatia basketball team met Romania in the third round of Group D in the first qualifying round of the FIBA World Cup in China in 2019. Unfortunately, Croatia suffered their third defeat, losing to Romania 56:58 (16:16, 12: 5, 10:16, 18:21), reports Gol.hr on February 23, 2018.
With this defeat, Croatia has been placed in a very uncomfortable position, which could force them to finish in the last place of the qualification round, putting their road to China in serious question.
Against Romania, Croatia played a catastrophic attack, scoring only two of 26 three-pointers. Overall, they scored a desperate 19 out of 67 shots.
It was clear from the very beginning that Romania would make this game anything but easy for Croatia. In the first three minutes, Croatia did not score a single basket, and Romania spent most of the first quarter in the lead. However, after the first 10 minutes, the score was 16:16, and in the second quarter, both teams started attacking very weakly.
After the first three and a half minutes the result was 1:0 for Romania. However, Croatia played a decent defensive game which resulted in the slightest gains from the counterattack, giving the team some advantage. One minute and a half before the big break the score was 22:21 for Croatia, which was the best we saw Croatia play. In the first three minutes of the third quarter, Croatia’s advantage increased to 34:22.
Unfortunately, Croatia did not continue with this rhythm, and the Romanians set up a defensive game that left Croatia blind. In the 27th minute, it was 34:33.
It was clear then that the winner of the match was unknown, and Croatia’s weak play opened up space for Romania. Still, the free throws of Luka Žorić and a three-pointer by Karlo Uljarević brought the score to 51:54. Uljarević hit one of two free throws for 52:54, and after an attacking play, Fran Pilepić tried to bring Croatia back in the lead. But neither Pilepić nor the third attempt was accurate.
A miss for Romania opened a new opportunity for Croatia, and the score was 54:55 with 14 seconds on the clock. Romania, however, managed to concentrate, hitting three of the four free throws which resulted in a final score of 56:58 for the Romanian team.
Hrvoje Perić scored 19 points for Croatia, while Luka Žorić scored 11, and Ivan Buva eight. Nandor Kuti was the best for Romania with 16 points.
As it stands now, Croatia has three defeats while Romania has two victories and a defeat. Italy is also in this qualification group and has a ratio of 2-0, while the Netherlands are 1-1. Italy and the Netherlands play their 3rd round match this evening.
Croatia will host the Netherlands in the 4th round on Monday in Zadar, while the remaining two matches in the group will be played in the summer, June 28th in Italy, and on July 1st in Romania.
Translated from Gol.hr