Sweden Send Croats To Relegation Battle

16 July 2011

U20 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

A massive upset took place at the U20 European Championship on Saturday evening as Sweden knocked-out no other than Croatia out of the race with a shocking 70-56 victory in Group B.

Sweden got their debut win in the championship and climbed to a 1-2 record, even with Croatia while in any tie-breaker situation Croatia will finish last.

The next step for Croatia is an uncharted land for them in the 13-16 Classification Round, fighting against relegation to Division B.

The final standings of Sweden will be decided according to the result between France and Latvia.

Christopher Czerapowicz led Sweden with 17 points and 13 rebounds followed by Viktor Gaddefors with 13 points and Alexander Lindqvist with 12 points and 9 rebounds.



Croatia saw Boris Barac collect 14 and Ivan Mikulic finish with 12, but a poor team total of 32.8% from the field damaged the red-and-whites.

Croatia wrote a 0-9 run early in the game to take a 3-11 lead, but that was the last sign of domination from the Croatian side.

"In the first two games we started very bad and had to chase the opponent, so before today's game we spoke about being aggressive from the start," shared Jan Enjebo, head coach of the smiling team.

Indeed after the slow start his team picked up their game and fought back, enough to finish the first quarter just two points behind, 14-16.

The close game continued in the second quarter as the teams entered the half time break tied at 32-32, but starting the 2nd half there was only one side playing well.

Czerapowicz stepped up with 13 points and 7 rebounds in the second half, including some big shots, while big guy Carl Engstorm was a big presence under the boards.

Sweden picked up a good momentum in the 3rd quarter, but kept the run for the last period, as Croatia lost hope and energy as the game progressed.

A run of 7-0 early in the last quarter capped by a Czerapowicz lay-up pushed the gap to a shocking 11, from which Croatia never recovered.

"This is a huge win for us," added Enjebo.

"I'm so proud of this team for what they have done. We played a very good game and the fact we're in the Qualifying Round and eliminated Croatia on the way there is a huge achievement for us."

 


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