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Modest Greeks United In Victory

As the dust settles on EuroBasket 2005, and basketball players return to clubs in Europe and North America to begin preparations for the new season, spare one last thought for the gold-medal winning Greeks, the side that had the most important of ingredients for victory in Belgrade.

Humility, modesty, there is no “I” in team – whatever you want to call it – the Greeks had it.

Konstantinos Tsartsaris (Greece)
Konstantinos Tsartsaris

When Greece arrived in Belgrade to take part in the glamorous tournament, all of the players left their egos at the door.Even now, as champions, players refuse to talk about their own accomplishments.

We want to know, for example, why Greek centre Konstantinos Tsartsaris, a reserve who had nine points on four of five shooting from the floor in 16 minutes, saved his best performance for the final game.

We will never know.

“Everybody played well,” said Tsartsaris to PA Sport.

“Everybody had to do something for the team. The Greek team is the true meaning of the word “team”.

“We don’t have a (Dirk) Nowitzki or somebody else, so everybody has to do a little bit of something to achieve our goals.”

Everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

Greek Heroes Get Stamp Of Approval

Greece are commemorating the national team’s EuroBasket 2005 gold medal triumph in Belgrade by issuing a series of stamps to recognise the achievement.

The stamps are being printed to highlight the latest feat and will be unveiled at a big ceremony in Athens on Monday.

Greece, who finished second in Group C to Slovenia, went on to beat Israel in the elimination round before coming from behind against Russia and France in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.

The Greeks then played their best game of the tournament against a Dirk Nowitzki-led Germany to win 78-62 and capture the title.

The success, played out before a Belgrade Arena packed with Greek fans who made the short journey to Serbia & Montenegro, set off a massive celebration in Athens with supporters converging on Amonio Square while thousands of well-wishers greeted their heroes upon their arrival at the Athens airport the following day.

Basketball has been important in Greece since Panagiotis Yannakis, the coach of the national side, helped the country win the EuroBasket crown in 1987 as the team captain and point guard.

Yannakis and his players have already been honoured at a ceremony by Greece President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Kostas

Bergeaud Aiming To Keep Team Spirit

France coach Claude Bergeaud fears it will be difficult to recreate the team spirit engendered by his side during the recent EuroBasket 2005.

Les Bleus recovered from an indifferent start to the competition, which saw them lose to Greece and Slovenia in the group stage, to oust host nation Serbia & Montenegro and defending champions Lithuania.

They then went on to claim the bronze medal by thrashing Spain on Sunday, a result which booked their place in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.

This EuroBasket marked the start of something new but everything remains very fragile
Claude Bergeaud

Bergeaud hopes to build on the grit and character shown by his side but knows it will be hard to reproduce once his players return to their respective club teams.”Usually everyone spreads at the airport and goes back to their clubs,” he told L’Equipe. “But this time it is horrible because we don’t know when we are going to see each other again.

“This EuroBasket marked the start of something new but everything remains very fragile.”

One of the main accusations levelled at Les Bleus in recent years has been that some of their players are more dedicated to

Pesic Hails German Spirit

Serbo-Montenegrin legend Svetislav Pesic has joined the chorus of praise for Germany following their silver medal run at EuroBasket 2005.

Pesic, who led Germany to EuroBasket glory in 1993 and did the same with his native Yugoslavia in 2001, did not coach a team in this summer’s tournament but his son Marco played for Germany as they stunned Slovenia in the quarter-finals and Spain in the semis.

Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks ace, was Germany’s star and was named the MVP of the tournament, despite their defeat to Greece in the final.

Pesic, who is now the coach of Lottomatica Roma in Italy’s top flight, said to PA Sport: “It is once more a case of us seeing the importance of a team and without that on a daily basis, you have problems.

“It is important to have one or two players like Ronaldinho at Barcelona in football or like Nowitzki in Germany.

“Nowitzki is the same for Germany as Ronaldinho is for Barca but without having a team, it is impossible to win,” he said, while adding that his national side Serbia & Montenegro only failed for this very reason.

“We have not worked well,” he admitted.

“We did

Slovenia: Lorbek Gives Thumbs-Up To EuroBasket

Rising Slovenian star Erazem Lorbek helped his country make history this week by earning a place at the FIBA World Championship for the first time.

In the process, the 2.09m center, who is still only 21 years old, says he grew up a lot on the court.

At the EuroBasket, he competed against some of the greatest players in in the sport, including Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki of Germany.

Lorbek played 26 minutes in that quarter-final and was charged with the responsibility of guarding the superstar, who led his side to victory.

“He’s a really good player,” Lorbek said to PA Sport.

“That is my wish, to play in the NBA against players like this. So I was pumped up, I played well. I hope I play many more games against him.”

Lorbek will play against Nowitzki in the future, too.

He was picked in the second round of this summer’s NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers.

While Lorbek will remain with Climamio Bologna for another season and benefit from the wise counsel of coach Jasmin Repesa, he has one eye on his eventual move to the US where he played college basketball briefly with Michigan State in the

Greece Enjoy The Spoils Of Victory

Team spirit, a commitment to defence and the excellent leadership of the legend, coach Panagiotis Yannakis, were an unbeatable combination for Greece at the EuroBasket.

According to shooting guard Nikolaos Chatzivrettas, Greece had them all in abundance in Belgrade.

Eighteen years after stealing the hearts of basketball fans all over Europe, Greece did it again with their gritty, refuse-to-lose attitude.

They came from behind to beat Russia and France in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, before knocking off Germany to win the gold medal.

Chatzivrettas has joined the chorus of players hailing the 2005 title as a triumph for not just the players, but the country as a whole.

“It’s a very important for all the players, and all the Greek people,” Chatzivrettas told PA Sport.

Michail Kakiouzis lifts the trophy 18 years after Greee’s last triumph 

“We’ll celebrate it for a couple of days before seeing what we’ll do after.”Chatzivrettas was among the bleary-eyed players at the Belgrade Airport the day after the gold medal game – ouzo, not sleeping, was on the agenda after Sunday night’s success.

He had eight big points against Germany in the 78-62 triumph.

With his team’s offensive struggles having carried over from the

Silver Medal Hero Femerling Proud Of Germany

Patrick Femerling believes his Germany team-mate Dirk Nowitzki deserves the recognition he received this month in Serbia & Montenegro after proving yet again he is one of the top players in the world.

Femerling, whose fine play at center helped his national side clinch the silver medal at the EuroBasket, was full of praise for Dallas Mavericks forward Nowitzki, who was voted most valuable player of the competition after leading the tournament in scoring at 26.7 points per game.

He finished second in rebounding at 10.8 per contest.

As good as he was on the stat sheet, Nowitzki was even better as a person.

“It’s easy to integrate Dirk into a team because he is a great person, very easy going,” Femerling said to PA Sport.

Patrick Femerling

“Dirk’s role in this team is pretty clear, he is the focal point in the offence and maybe the best player in the world with his height and his skills.”There is no doubt that Germany’s success was owed to the chemistry in the side.

Coach Dirk Bauermann merits all the praise that has come his way because his players may not have had the most talent, but they sure were one of

Mixed Feelings For Navarro

Spain international shooting guard Juan Carlos Navarro has tried to remain positive after his side’s frustrating EuroBasket campaign.

Spain achieved their first aim of the tournament by qualifying for next year’s World Championships in Japan, but they lost their semi-final to Germany by just one point before falling apart in the game for the bronze medal against France – losing by 30 points.

That has left Navarro with a bitter-sweet feeling.

“It was a positive performance,” he said.

Missing the final by one point leaves you feeling terrible and finishing fourth makes you feel even worse
Juan Carlos Navarro

“Our first aim was to win a place for Japan and we got through the first phase well. We had the chance to win a medal and missed the final by just one point.”However, the best thing is to forget what happened against France.

“Missing the final by one point leaves you feeling terrible and finishing fourth makes you feel even worse.”

The Barcelona player had an excellent tournament himself, being named among the best five players in the competition and ending up with an average of 25.2 points a game.

“I felt comfortable on court, but I can’t

Calderon Committed To Spain Cause

Spanish point guard Jose Manuel Calderon has re-affirmed his commitment to his country despite departing to play his basketball in the NBA.

The former TAU Ceramica player quit the Liga ACB this summer to sign for the Toronto Raptors.

That puts him in a similar situation to countryman Pau Gasol, who missed last month’s EuroBasket in order to rest a long-standing foot injury and ensure he was fit to start the season with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Unless I break my leg, I will be in Japan
Jose Manuel Calderon

However, Calderon insists he will do everything possible to be with Spain in next year’s World Championship.”Unless I break my leg, I will be in Japan, there is going to be no ‘Calderon case’ I can assure you of that,” he said.

Despite qualifying for next year’s tournament, Spain returned from the EuroBasket with a bitter-sweet taste in their mouths after missing out on a place in the final by one point against Germany and then losing the play-off for third place by 30 points against France.

Head coach Mario Pesquera has been told his job is safe, but Calderon believes there could still be a change at the

Relive EuroBasket Online

Those who missed the action from EuroBasket 2005 will now have a second chance to watch the greatest moments of Europe’s top competition., the website which offered the live video streaming during the championship to a limited number of countries, is offerings 36 games for download without any country restriction at prices between 5 USD (single game) and 25 USD (all 40 games).

That means that fans in countries like Greece, Germany and France, who were under a broadcast embargo due to exclusive television contracts, can now access the television images.

From the Quarter Finals all games are offered with English commentary, all other games have international sound and can be accessed under the following link: http://channel/basketball/jsp/index.jsp

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