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Main Diary Date For Italy And Slovakia

21 June 2013
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
8. Klaudia Lukacovicov√° (Slovak Republic)
Klaudia Lukacovicov√° and her Slovak Republic teammates will have been eying the Italy game as a must-win affair

As soon as the schedule for the second round was confirmed, both Italy and the Slovak Republic will have targeted this as being the game which could ultimately take them to the last eight of the competition.

Last Time Out: Both teams were obliterated by their respective opposition with the Slovak Republic battered 80-44 by a rampant Spain and Italy capitulating in the second-half against Turkey to crash 66-46.

Key Match Up: With Gabriela Kubatova not having been able to exert the influence expected, much of the playmaking responsibilities have fallen on Timea Sujova. She has a big task in her hands when she comes up against Giorgia Sottana, who is one of the few game changers and game winners that Italy have. Sottana is capable of exploding and really getting Italy over the line so Sujova will have to take care of business defensively in shackling her.

Key Stat: An average of 20 turnovers each night makes for grim reading for the Slovak Republic and if they can take care of the ball and reduce this number, they will give themselves a real opportunity to take a win.

X-Factor: Slovak Republic must re-discover their defensive intensity which has helped them get this far. The irony is that whilst they do turn the ball over a lot themselves, they are one of the best teams in the competition for coming up with precious steals. It is therefore fascinating, because Italy are one of the best teams at protecting the ball too. This dynamic could determine the outcome in what is likely to be a nervy and pressurised game for both sets of players.

From The Camps: "Our minds were always focused on Italy and Sweden - our most important games. We are going in with high expectations and we have to prepare better and find our defence again, because overall, our defence is what we have been good at. In the last game it was very bad and we have to re-focus and go and win the game, just like we did against Ukraine, because it was a similar position." - Slovak Republic center Romana Vynuchalova.

"First of all we needed to spend time analysing the game [against Spain] to see why we played so badly in the third quarter. Obviously this [Slovakia] game is the most important for us to keep going in the competition, so we need to get back the confidence that we probably lost during the Turkey game." - Italy play-caller Roberto Ricchini.

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