Australia v USA in basketball and Spain v France in handball are the hardest looking matches involving FCB players
Marcelinho plays against Argentina, Saras against the strong Russians and Navarro and Sada will take on France
The other handball match with Barcelona interest is Sweden v Denmark, where Jernemyr and Sjostrand will have to work hard to reach the semis
All of the Barça handball and basketball players made it through to the last eight of their competitions at London 2012. But they face some very tough games before going into the battle for medals. Joe Ingles’ Australian basketball team has a mammoth task ahead – huge favourites Team USA. In handball, France v Spain is too close to call, with FCB players on both sides.
Lithuania and Spain go first
The Lithuanian basketball team, led by Saras Jasikevicius, will be the first quarter finalist to play on Wednesday 8 at 15.00. They’ll be up against Kirilenko’s Russian side, which topped Group B. Lithuania only just squeezed through in fourth on the final day following a tightly fought contest with Tunisia. Navarro and Sada go with Spain against France after losing their final group match to Brazil and finishing third. In theory, Spain should have no trouble defeating a side they already beat in warm-up matches, but after poor showings against Russia and Brazil, there are some doubts starting to emerge. The game will also be on Wednesday 8, starting at 17.15.
The other games, a South American ‘derby’ between Brazil and Argentina and the United States against Australia, start at 21.00 and 23.15 respectively. Marcelinho Huertas is in the Brazil side that finished second in their group and has a good chance of medalling, but it would be a huge surprise if Joe Ingles and Australia could cause serious trouble to the all-conquering US side.
Second placed France meet Spain
Sorhaindo’s French handball team beat Jernemyr and Sjostrand’s Sweden yesterday and now face Spain, who finished runners-up in the other group. In the aforesaid 29-26 win, France looked a very strong contender indeed for a place in the semi finals, but first they’ll have to beat a side that includes no fewer seven of his club team-mates (Víctor Tomás, Albert Rocas, Entrerríos, Sarmiento, Gurbindo, Viran Morros and Aguirrezabalaga). After losing to Croatia, Spain finished second in their group.
Sweden meanwhile face Denmark, with FCB’s Jernemyr and Sjostrand in their ranks, who came second in their group after losing just one fixture. Sweden could only play France or Spain in the final or bronze medal playoff, as they can’t meet in the semi finals.