Greece will take on Montenegro in their opening game of the FIBA World Cup at the Gymnasium of Youth Olympic Games Sport Park.
Greece are the highest ranked team in their group. New Zealand and Brazil are the other teams in Group F aside from Greece and Montenegro. Greece are ranked 8th in the world, while Montenegro in the 28th spot according to the FIBA ranking. Brazil are 12th, and they are one of the strong contenders to reach the knockout stage. This game will be the first time Greece and Montenegro are meeting in the FIBA World Cup.
Greece will go into the World Cup aiming to better their ninth-placed finish which they achieved last time. Their best World Cup came in 2006 when they won the silver medal. Since then, they have failed to make the quarter-finals. As for the Olympic Games, they have been unable to qualify the last two times. The EuroBasket has been their most successful tournament. Greece have won two EuroBasket titles, the last of which came in 2005.
They impressed in the qualifying campaign for this World Cup, which is an encouraging sign. Greece lost just one game in the qualification stages, which was a loss against Serbia. But they beat Serbia in the reverse fixture which was an impressive win. However, their point differential was not that good, which means they won a lot of close games. Greece will hope that it continues in the tournament as well.
They will come up against a side looking to make an impact on the big stage. Montenegro are participating in the first FIBA World Cup in their history. They did take part in the last EuroBasket tournament where they finished 13th. That was their best finish in the competition from three attempts. They have won the gold medal twice in the Games of the Small States of Europe.
Their qualifying campaign was tight, and they had to bounce back from a tough start to make the second round. Some crucial wins over Ukraine and Latvia were necessary to qualify. However, their qualification was in question until their last game. They needed a home win over Latvia to confirm that, and they got it by an 80-74 scoreline.
Bojan Dubljevic, one of their players, knows that they face a tough task now. “We are a small country, and we all know that it means a lot for all of us and for our countrymen to compete in the FIBA Basketball World Cup,” he said. Our confidence got higher after qualifying, but we also know that we have to keep working hard and keep improving to have great performances in China. The qualifiers are now behind us; now we have to focus on the main tournament.”
Greece vs Montenegro Prediction
Greece will go into the match as overwhelming favorites to start their tournament with a win. They should score over 60 points in the game and get the win by a point differential of more than 10 points.