Italy-USA, Dino Meneghin: “Here’s what the Azzurri have to do to win”

“Pozzecco is sometimes over the top but he mustn’t obscure his merits”

Italy must play “the perfect game” against the United States in the quarter-finals of the 2023 basketball World Cup. Dino Meneghin, the legend of Italian basketball, analyzes the match scheduled for tomorrow between coach Gianmarco’s national team at Adnkronos Pozzecco and Steve Kerr’s Stars and Stripes selection. On the one hand Simone Fontecchio, Nicolò Melli, Stefano Tonut. On the other, a team of stars – perhaps not superstars – with Paolo Banchero on the roster.

“The boys have shown great character and personality and this bodes well for tomorrow’s challenge which seems like an impossible mission but instead, if they believe in it fully, it might not be”, says Meneghin.

“Yesterday’s defeat by Kerr’s team against Lithuania doesn’t make sense, they probably took the challenge a little lightly because they were already qualified – underlines the former president of Fip-. Tomorrow they will have a different attitude, however logical it may be, since we’re in the medal zone. For our part, we’ll need the perfect match, we’ll have to shoot with high percentages and play a great team defensive match, because they move the ball very well and they’ll put us to the test. I’m sure they’ll arrive ready.”

Meneghin praises coach Pozzecco. “At times he’s too exuberant and often goes over the top but this shouldn’t overshadow his merits. ‘Poz’ is someone who knows basketball and knows how to teach it and what’s more he has a great staff by his side. The important thing is is that tomorrow he stays on the bench and doesn’t get sent off like against the Dominican Republic, it’s no coincidence that it’s the only game he’s lost in this World Cup”. Among the players, a particular applause goes to Nicolò Melli. “He’s astonishing me with the quality of his performances, he’s competing in a huge world championship. He always makes the right choice and is almost always decisive”.

For Renato Villalta, European champion with the national basketball team at the 1983 European Championships, “we really needed this great result by the Azzurri, it is an important result for the national team, for the basketball movement and for Italy. We must be grateful to the coach and To the kids”. “Now it’s our turn to the USA, needless to say that we are underdogs but dreaming is legitimate – underlines the former Virtus Bologna winger -. If Lithuania defeated them why can’t we do it? We’ll take to the parquet light and ready to do the feat Whatever happens, it’s still an excellent world championship.”

Villalta praises the merits of coach Pozzecco. “Being a player gives him that something extra that other coaches, perhaps even more prepared, haven’t had. He’s managed to get into the heads and hearts of the players who are all giving their all for him. Coach and players seem to be in symbiosis “.