‘Everyone loves to play in front of their fans’ says Spain’s Navarro to Laureus.com as he aims for W
August 29, 2014
The Basketball World Cup begins tomorrow in Spain and runs until September 14.
The big question everyone is asking is: can home nation Spain stop the United States, who are the perennial favourites?
Spain won in 2006. The US won in 2010.
And the days when every game the United States played was a 50-point win have gone. This time there are even suggestions that the US is not as strong as they might be.
Olympic gold medalists like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are absent, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love have withdrawn and injuries to Paul George and others have caused the team to look weaker than it has in the past.
Other are suggesting that this will be the last time in a major tournament that Spain’s big five – Paul and Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Sergio Liull and Juan Carlos Navarro – will play together and they will be desperate for a win.
The Spanish Basketball Team are Laureus Ambassadors and Juan Carlos Navarro stressed to Laureus.com the importance of playing at home.
He said: “On one side, you do feel a little pressure due to playing at home as everyone expects us to be in the final, and we know there is a lot of work to be done. At the same time, everyone loves to play in front of their fans. We will do everything we can and work very hard so the people enjoy the games and for everything to work out for us. The team is very excited to be playing in Spain.”
The United States are current favourites, narrowly ahead of Spain, with Argentina, Brazil, France, Greece and Lithuania regarded as the teams with the next best chance.
The stakes are high. The winners will not just be at the summit of basketball, but will also qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.