Training Day: Sweden Moving Forward After Tough Loss

Trying to recover after a poor performance is something that every team has to go through, and when you’re a programme looking to build for the future, it will happen more often than you’d want.

For Sweden, their FIBA Women’s EuroBasket loss against the home nation of Serbia in the quarterfinals was still stinging during the practice session the following day. However, Head Coach Francois Gomez explained that, actually, this moment is exactly what he and the team have been working towards for the past two years. “We never thought we were going to win the European championship,” he admitted.

“Playing Serbia in the quarterfinals was not a gift. But now, the most important thing is to forget, because the way we played yesterday was not good, and we must focus on this game against Russia – winning it could be big for the Swedish federation to play in pre-Olympic tournament.”

The country’s leading scorer Amanda Zahui B had no plans to go through another performance like the one the team had against Serbia – during which Sweden was beaten by 38 points. After the loss, she said: “We have to play with a lot of anger next game. We have to play like we really want it. All the emotions that we’re feeling right now should transfer into the next game. I’m pissed. All these feelings that I’m feeling now, I’m going to pass on to my teammates. And we’ll just build from that.””>

The players certainly let out some frustration during the practice session one day before the game against Russia. While it started out quiet, scrimmages saw two separate occasions when Danielle Hamilton-Carter and Josefine Vesterberg got hit and go down for a minute.

They worked hard, but the session seemed to knock the frustration out of the players and they started to retain some confidence. Gomez said: “This team didn’t play the last competitions of the Olympics and the European Championship. They didn’t have confidence and it was our job to build this confidence in this team.

“That was maybe the most difficult job but we found it at the end of May – we had a good mix with my basketball philosophies from France and the players’ Swedish ideas. Of course, I’m not 100% happy with the result because we need a long time to work on these things. But I hope it will work tomorrow when we receive our gift of playing Russia for a chance to reach the Olympic qualification tournament.”

That doesn’t mean the Swedish team will be taking the contest lightly. They fully realise the experience Russia has, and the task that is ahead of them. Gomez said: “Maja Miljakova is a very good player, everybody says she’s old but I know she is able to score a lot of threes. Maria Vadeeva is young player with big talent, and then there is Raisa Musina, of course. They have two good point guards, they have snipers.””>

“We will be focused on Vadeeva, who is the best player on this team, and we must find an answer for the different problems she presents. I was surprised to see her score just 6 points against Spain, but they are always one of the best teams. We can’t reproduce the same thing as some other teams, but we can take some ideas from Spain.”

Sweden will play Russia on Saturday with one of them qualifying for the Olympic qualification tournament at the beginning of next year.

Source: Read Full Article