Greece completed its qualifying campaign for the 2019 World Cup finals with a 69-63 victory in Germany on Sunday, topping its group and looking forward to getting seeded in next month’s draw for the finals in China.
Playing in front of a mixed crowd in Bamberg that included about 2,000 Greeks – and former Greece guard Nikos Zisis – Greece faced a strong opposition from the hosts but eventually deserved this victory, its 11th in 12 qualifying games.
Every time the Germans tried to pull away the Greeks had the answer and got the upper hand for good at 61-60, thanks to the depth in their squad and the impressive leadership show by Panayiotis Vassilopoulos. He made 12 points and collected six rebounds, while Vangelis Margaritis was the top scorer for Greece with 13 points.
The Greek team – despite playing without its numerous Euroleague stars, finished the group with 23 points, two more than Germany and leaving Serbia in third.
Now Greece is hoping it will be included in the first pot at the draw on March 16 for the group stage of the finals in China this summer. Coach Thanassis Skourtopoulos is confident the national team will get the massive boost of the inclusion of NBA superstar Yiannis Antetokounmpo in its roster.