Mission Impossible Accomplished – Croatian Basketball Team Qualifies For Rio Olympics

Total Croatia News

Croatia beat Italy in the final of the Olympic Qualification Tournament in overtime, shocking the home supporters.

Croatia took an 84-78 overtime win over Italy on July 9, 2016 in the final of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

In a game that featured 10 lead changes and 9 ties – most of which came after half-time – the Croats had more left in the tank in the extra session as they defeated the tournament hosts to return to the Olympics for the first time since 2008.

The turning point was Bojan Bogdanovic’s three-pointer with 1:14 left in overtime that put Croatia up 80-74 and Italy – with Danilo Gallinari and Luigi Datome forced to watch from the sidelines after fouling out in the fourth quarter – simply struggled to get any baskets.

Croatia’s top players, Bogdanovic and Dario Saric, had big individual performances in the first half, with the former scoring 17 points and the latter grabbing 10 rebounds.

Bogdanovic and Saric were key throughout the game but Aleksandar Petrovic’s side also got a huge lift off the bench from Darko Planinic who had 13 points and 5 rebounds, 4 of them on the offensive end. Special mention should also go to veteran guard Krunoslav Simon who, after picking up his third foul with 4:15 left in the opening quarter, made amends by hitting three big three-pointers in the third quarter.

The Croatian basketball team end an eight-year absence at the Olympics, and even though coach Petrovic was claiming that this was to be a part time job, after this terrific win he will have the hard time of turning his back on this team.

Here is the video of the post match press conference, you can hear Darko Planinic and Coach Aco Petrovic talking to the international press at 10.15 minute of video.

Croatian Basketball Federation had its problems in the past, and there is a lot to do in the future. Although there is a mess over president Ivan Šuker appointment, and there is a question of the legality of him being a president of CBF, there is one good thing happening in Croatian basketball: the ex players are ruling the sport.

And just as one could expect, when the sport is ran by those who love and respect it, results come. Congratulations to all the participants, and it will be a great joy to see basketball Croatian-style at the Olympics.



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