The Slovenian press accepted the punishment of the basketball gods for arrogance

Rivals were not considered rivals

24 hours ago, the Slovenians did not even consider the Polish national team as a rival. “We write Poland, we have the semi-finals in mind,” Slovenian sports daily Ekipa wrote on its cover on Wednesday. “The Slovenians are clear favorites for the quarter-finals. Gold medals are getting closer,” the sports publication added in smaller letters.

The Ekipa website went even further. After the first leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday, she wrote in the caption: “Slovenia find out their semi-final opponents. We saw real drama in the Italy-France match.” Arrogant Slovenian journalists did not even pay attention to the fact that their national team has not yet won the right to play in the semi-finals.

The punishment for disrespecting the opponents did not have to wait long. In the last match of the quarterfinals, the Polish national team made a resounding slap against the Slovenian basketball players 90:87 late on Wednesday evening and sent the European champions home.

After the failure, there was a void

After losing the quarter-final match, the mood changed instantly and the arrogance evaporated. “We’re all guilty,” The Team wrote in all-caps on Thursday’s cover. “We already saw ourselves in the final, we wrote about the final, we bought tickets for the final. But in sports, you have to prove that you deserve to win every time”, – old sports truths were rediscovered by the publishers of the sports daily.

“What to write and say after such a defeat?” – the “Sportal” website felt the void. – The game of the Slovenian national team in the first half was below any criticism. Before the match, the coaches emphasized that the start of the match will be the most important. But she was shocking. On the other hand, at the beginning of the second half, we managed to change the course of events, but at the end, the team suddenly fell into the abyss again, and the recovering Poles crushed the hopes of the Slovenians to win the medals of the European championships again”.

“The journey of the European Championships ended unexpectedly early. The 2017 champions lost in the quarterfinals to a team that was not as good on paper. Still, paper means nothing. We made sure of that more than once in this tournament. Serbia, Greece and, now, Slovenia have dropped out, Sportal took solace in the fact that other favorites also failed. “The faces of the Slovenian basketball players were confused, the night was short, because no one expected to say goodbye already on Wednesday.”

“Slovenia’s national team finished its performance in the European championships. In the quarterfinals, she was surprised by the Polish team, which was called a clear outsider, “Dnevnik” newspaper wrote. – It seemed practically impossible. The Polish team was a clear underdog, but after an atomic first half, they withstood their opponents’ onslaught after the break and achieved a sensational result.”

“Shocked Slovenians step down from top of Europe,” Delo newspaper wrote on its front page on Thursday. “It was good to sit on the throne, it was terrible to get off it,” Delo said in the headline of another article.

No warning signs were seen

It became clear last year that the Slovenian national team is not invincible, and that the opponents have learned how to play against Lukas Doncic. During the Tokyo Olympics, the Slovenians lost both decisive matches to the French and the Australians and remained without medals.

This year, right before the European Championships, the Slovenian national team hopelessly lost the World Championship qualifying match to the German team, and lost to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Championship group competition.

The Slovenians also had difficulties when playing against other opponents. Only one match was won without problems, against the outsider of the group, the Hungarian team.

“Slovenia received several warnings this summer. The biggest warning was when the national team was crushed by the Germans even before the championship. This was followed by a loss in the group stage to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and finally in the round of 16 against Belgium, who resisted until the fourth quarter,” Sportal’s website reminded.

But the warning signs didn’t help.

“Something that no one expected happened. After the first half, the picture was catastrophic, the “Ekipa” website was disappointed with the game of the Slovenian national team. – Slovenia suffered a painful defeat. Not just because the defending champion team was eliminated very early, but more because of who they lost to. The Polish national team is not among the leaders, but now it has a chance to win a medal.”

There was no backup plan

Almost the entire game of the Slovenian national team was based on L. Dončičius’ unearthly individual skill. However, opponents have already figured out how to slow down the Slovenian star and cut him off from his teammates.

L. Dončičius scored 47 points in the match against the French and set a tournament record, played effectively against the Germans and Belgians (36 and 35 points), but did not exceed the 20-point mark in the next four games.

During the quarter-final match, L. Dončičius scored 14 points in the Polish basket. The Polish basketball players blocked the favorite paths of the Slovenian leader, the referees did not react to his attempts to play, ironic smiles and bickering, and L. Dončičius was distracted like a fish thrown to the shore.

The Slovenian national team simply did not know what to do when the rivals surrounded L. Dončičius.

“Plan B. The plan that didn’t exist,” was the title of the RTV Slo national television website that analyzed the national team’s performance.

“Slovenia was not psychologically prepared, did not adapt to the opponent’s tactics, and at the end of the match, poor physical preparation was revealed,” RTV Slo named the weak points of the team.

Understandably, journalists asked questions about the future of national team coach Aleksanderis Sekulicius. The President of the Slovenian Basketball Federation, Matejs Erjavec, replied that “the coach’s contract is valid until the end of 2023”. And the speech is over.

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