For Argentina, at least, the matchup between Spain and Brazil will be pretty important as they will assuredly be pitted against one of the two in the quarterfinals.
It’s probably a more important game than their own because an upset over the United States likely wouldn’t change much in the standings. Manu Ginobili, whose brutal efficiency has been an immense coup for the 3-1 Argentinians, offered his take on Spain and Brazil, adding that Argentina can beat both.
“Spain is obviously the most talented team in the world, with great size,” Ginobili said. “Even if (Juan Carlos) Navarro is not at his best, (Jose) Calderon is a great player, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy (Fernandez) … highly structured team playing together for a long time. It is certainly a danger, even though they lost a game …
Brazil is a team that plays very physical, also with good size, which defends very hard, it’s not easy to score on them … but I think we can beat them both. I have no doubt. In fact it has happened.”
Argentina’s best game, Ginobili believes, was their 23-point victory over Lithuania. Ginobili poured in 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists while Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino added 52 points combined.
Given Argentina’s defensive fortitude, they’ve allowed the least points in Group A and fourth overall behind Brazil, Russia and Australia, it would make sense to focus on offense. But they’re excelling offensively, too, as they only rank behind the United States in points scored with 351 through four games.
“The best game was the first, and possibly a game that we can not overcome,” Ginobili said. “I think we are better defensively than I thought we would … We have not suffered … in preparation, and on the rebound either, although Nigeria is a specialist and sent four players to fight in the post.
But defensively we are well and have to improve in attack and better distribute the ball. It is very important that every player on the court feels useful, part of the game.”
They will need their entire repertoire at their best to defeat Spain or Brazil, two teams that will likely enter the quarterfinals as favorites over Argentina, whose advanced age hasn’t deterred them from winning in London.