Illustrative photo – Match of group I qualification for promotion to the EC 2023 basketball players of the Czech Republic – Belarus on 11.11.2021 in Prague. From the right, Petra Záplatová from the Czech Republic and Alexandria Bentleyová from Belarus.
Prague – In Thursday's game against Ireland in Prague's Královka, the Czech women's basketball players can take another step towards their 15th participation in the European Championship in a row. If they manage to play the role of favourites, then coach Romana Ptáčková's team could afford to advance against the Netherlands on Sunday and lose by a maximum of four points. The match against Ireland will start at 17:00.
Photo gallery: Qualification of women's basketball players for European Championship 2023
After winning 70:54 in Dublin over Ireland in November 2021 under former coach Štefan Svitko and 71:66 in Almere over the Netherlands last November in Group I after the elimination of Belarus, the Czechs are 100% successful. The Dutch have two wins from three matches.
“Compared to the first match, the Irish have two new players, who belong to the five or six players who are on the field the most and are known there. And when I saw their last match against the Netherlands, it was not easy, the Dutch lost by twenty or more points and they had something to do to turn the game around,” Ptáčková told journalists, mentioning Bridget Herlihyová from the Swedish club Marbo and Orla O'Reilyová from the Australian Waverley Falcons.
“The Irish have a concrete area, they play a lot to the body and don't even deal with subsequent rotations. It's sometimes haphazard, but they just don't want to get the basket from under the basket. So when the Dutch turned the game around, they had to hit from a long distance. Without a good long shot it's hard to easily win against them,” declared Ptáčková.
She prepares her charges for the fact that they will have to go through tough fights. “They (the Irish) are a very fierce and tenacious team. They don't care at all if it's a foul or someone gets hurt. We have to be prepared that it will hurt, but above all we have to play smart,” Ptáčková said.
He will make his home competitive debut on the bench of the national team. Last June in Trutnov, she led the team in preparation in two duels against Poland, the second of which was also not public. “I don't notice it at all, I take it as the premiere is over. But maybe I'll change my mind after the matches,” said Ptáčková, who coached the first competitive duel in Almere, with a smile.
They are mainly focused on the goal of advancing to the June EuroBasket in Israel with Slovenia. “Of course, it's more difficult to manage everything with a younger team, it's also a lot on the head. But I believe in them and it would be great if we got there. It would be great experience. And if it doesn't work out, we'll arrange warm-up matches so they can get experience elsewhere,” added the former long-time coach of youth teams to the generational change of the national team.
Scorer Petra Holešínská from Grand Canaria will have no problem getting used to the Irish game, according to her words from the Spanish league. “I think that now in Spain I'm used to the hard style. There, too, it's like that if there's no blood, then no foul is whistled,” declared Holešínská.
“But it will definitely be difficult. When the team plays like this, so sometimes we adapt to it and we also play a bit ugly. But of course it's a team we have to beat. Hopefully we can do it,” said Holešínská.
In the absence of the health-indisposed pivot Julia Reisingerová from Salamanca, it will be according to her, successful shooting from a distance is all the more important. “They will play a little differently against us. We will focus more on the point guards. We will see how they play and how they deal with it,” added Holešínská.