On Saturday, April 29, the group draw for the World Cup took place, which will take place from August 25 to September 10, 2023. We have been invited by the Finnish Federation to follow it from Helsinki with Lassi Tove and Hannu Muttola. Finland inherits Germany, Australia and Japan. A very interesting group that promises to be contested.
“It’s a complex set, but very interesting.” Finland coach Lassi Tove emphasized our microphone after the draw. Indeed, Finland will be particularly opposed to Australia who finished fourth in the last World Cup and third in the last Olympics. The Australian workforce has been replenished with the arrival of Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks) or Matthys Thibul (Portland Trail Blazers). Plus, we’ll likely get a chance to see young Josh Geddy (Oklahoma City Thunder), who wasn’t selected for the last Olympics. “They have veterans who are able to corner young talent like Josh Geddy, and that’s what drove them to win the bronze medal at the last Olympics.” For Hannu Mottola’s analysis.
Germany will be fortunate to be able to count on two very good players in the NBA, Dennis Schroeder (Los Angeles Lakers) and youngster Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic). “Germany have really good strikers and some great players on the racket […] They have no weaknesses: they have good exteriors, good interiors and a good coach.”
Finally, Team Japan will not be easy to deal with for Finland as they will have the court advantage. “The host can always surprise the audience, which can tip the scalesLassi Tuovi told us. In addition, the presence of two NBA players in the person of Rui Hachimura (Los Angeles Lakers) and Yuta Watanabe (Brooklyn Nets) will not be taken lightly as confirmed by Hanno Motola: “They have two very good players in the NBA and as I was watching last time we only have one (Laurie Markkanen). We will try to build on their weaknesses, lack of size.
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Despite this complex draw, the Finnish coach is not worried. “We are still in the same mentality, we will play game after game, but if we want to move forward we will have to eliminate the favourites, […] We will continue to play our basketball.”
Finland will play these world championships without the historic Petri Koponen and Shaun Huff, both retired internationals since September 2022 and their elimination in the quarter-finals of the FIBA Europe Championship. However, this does not seem to worry Tuovi, who has shown her excitement at the arrival of the new generation.
How not to mention the phenomenon Lauri Markkanen, who has just been crowned MIP (Most Advanced Player) in the NBA, after a season that can only be described as exceptional. Currently in military service, Jazz’s strong wing will be in Japan. “Lori is very excited! I think what happened in the last Europa League gave him a lot of confidence. He died.
After a huge Eurobasket series last September, confidence is back on the side of the wolf pack. Hanno Muttola believes that Finland can emerge from this group. “As long as we keep fit, we have a good rhythm like last summer, we can beat almost anyone but at the same time, we don’t have much margin of error, so we always have to be on top. We can’t beat very big countries if we are on top.” Alright that day. It’s very exciting, everyone hasn’t won anything against the clock so it’s not over yet and it will be a good challenge. I hope we will have thousands of fans who will book their plane tickets now for Japan.”