Their country is at war, and Ukrainians are proud of the euro

To say that Ukraine did not come to the eurozone in the best possible circumstances is an understatement. Weeks before this Euro starts, Ukrainians are gathering on a mission to raise the morale of the residents of a war-torn country. They start their operation… they do the exact opposite.

The squad coached by Inaris Bagatskis, whose matches “at home” must now be played at the Riga Arena in the Latvian capital, has lost three consecutive times in the course of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. It does not shine more during the warm-up period. matches. A click is a must.

That’s when we thought of our fans at home. And then we had a meeting with the team. We decided to meet en masse. Lots of things happen at home, so we thought we had to play a bit more aggressively. lets fight ! Let’s fight, out of respect for the country Kings Center Alex Lane reports.

Call the family in Kyiv

It took a minimum of this ground fighting spirit for the 32nd basketball nation in the world to break out of the affordable Group C (Greece, Croatia, Italy, Estonia and Great Britain). In the end they won’t take long to put things right. In their unbeaten opening match against the British, they easily won by 29 points (90-61).

This is important, not only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe. You have seen what happened in Ukraine with the war, which is not against Ukraine. It is against civilization. It’s not an easy time for the players to be here, but they are doing their best, and I’m proud of them. ‘, congratulates Einars Bagatskis on this first success, and is happy to count on a few NBA players to ensure minimal exposure for his team.

His playmaker, Denis Lukashov, does not hide the fact that it is not clear ” To focus only on basketball and find out what is happening in our country right now “.” Call home every day. Some days, I was able to join my family. Others, no. A day, maybe two days later, they still tell me they’re fine ”, says the pivotal Artem Postovy, who has relatives who live near the capital, Kyiv.

Giannis Antetokonmo brings Ukraine back to Earth

Despite this context, the team’s best player, who was recently cut by the Raptors, Svi Mykhailiuk, recalls the ongoing collective mission: This heroism means a lot, especially in times of war. This is a great opportunity for us to make people happy back home and divert their attention from the war by showing them a great basketball. »

Thus, after Great Britain, Ukraine continued: a small victory over Estonia (74-73), and then a much smaller success over Italy (84-73), but on its own soil.

Three matches and three wins. The Ukrainian squad is like a dream that Giannis Antetokonmo will take care of to bring them out. Overtaken by the Greek monster (41 points in … 27 minutes!), the Ukrainians had to admit their first heavy defeat (79-99), before losing again to Croatia Bogdanovic (85-90).

Balance sheet: three wins and two losses, but a qualification in the round of 16 with a very honorable second place in the group (tied with Croatia and Italy).

The direction of Berlin to face Poland. Quite an icon. The Polish neighbor is an unconditional ally of Ukraine and a strong opponent of Vladimir Putin. At least one million Ukrainian refugees were registered with the Polish government earlier this summer. Almost 6 million crossings of the common border, with a length of more than 500 km, have been recorded since the beginning of the war.

heads up eliminate

pressure on us. We don’t know what will happen in the coming months or within a year. So there is pressure, but the real pressure is on those people who are fighting for our freedom. We’re just here playing basketball. It’s a crazy situation. We don’t know if we have a place to go back to Says Alex Lynn before this first playoff against this unpredictable Polish nation.

After 40 minutes of good fighting, Ukraine should surrender (78-84). Final word for AJ Slaughter and Mateusz Ponitka (46 points in between). The men in yellow, whose matches were broadcast in the country, are already leaving the competition with their heads held high.

I hope you inspired them and helped them forget the war a little bit. Today was not a good example but we did our best all this time. I hope they enjoyed it. It is difficult because all the families of the young men are still there. But I appreciate that everyone was there and fought », Grits Svi Mikhailuk, his team’s top scorer during the Euro Championship (17 points on average), but he missed his last match (12 points and 0/8 from afar). The NBA player ends: It was hard, but […] I think we did more than everyone expected of us. »

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