Belgian Lions want to chase Cats and also go to the World Cup: “First England, and only then do we think about the match against Giannis Antetokounmpo”

The World Cup will be played next year (August 25 – September 15) in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia. 24 teams participate, 12 of which are from Europe. The European teams have to complete two qualifying rounds for this. In the first round, the Belgian Lions won four of the six international matches, including twice against world power Serbia.

“It’s a pity that we narrowly lost twice against Latvia. After all, the results of the first round will be taken to the decisive preliminary round that starts tonight. With Greece and Turkey, there are two European top players in our group. The third opponent is Great Britain (with Nate Reinking, ex-player of Bree and Bergen as national coach, ed.). If we want to stay in the running for the World Cup, winning against the English tonight is a must. We don’t think about Sunday in the Greek cauldron and against Giannis ‘Greak Freak’ Antetokounmpo,” says Maxime De Zeeuw.

Stunts in November and February

In November and February, when the remaining four World Cup qualifiers are played, Turkey and Greece will not be able to have NBA and Euroleague players. After all, these two competitions do not stand still when the international matches are contested. Belgium also has two important players who play in the Euroleague with Ismael Bako (Virtus Bologna) and Retin Obasohan (ASVEL Villeurbanne). Sam Van Rossom, Euroleague with Valencia, had to cancel for the Lions under pressure from the Spanish team and permanently retired as an international.

From World Cup qualification immediately to European Championship in Georgia

“First this window and then we’ll see which players we have in November/February. We have the momentum and prospects to finish in the top-3 in Group I. We’ve never been to a World Cup and the cards were never so good. It could be a nice highlight for my generation. We don’t have NBA players, but we do have a mix of experience with young talents. And above all a portion of character that on the one hand brought us to a fifth consecutive European Championship (1-18 September Georgia/Tbilisi -Germany/Berlin) and on the other hand makes us dream of a World Cup.”

Maxime De Zeeuw left the Belgian first division after passing through Pepinster, Ghent and Antwerp Giants and as Player of the Year in 2014 and spent eight years working abroad (Italy, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Israel and Germany).

“At the age of 35, it is also time to return for family reasons. I found a new challenge at Limburg United and I am looking forward to a competition with Dutch teams. So first follows a busy month with the Belgian Lions with the European Championship in Georgia/Tbilisi after the two World Cup qualifiers. In a group of six we will look for a place in the top-4 and the 1/8th finals that will be contested in Berlin. Yes, my fifth European Championship in a row since 2011. Confirmation that we are on the right track. Now looking for that next step and the World Cup,” said the Brussels native, who has already made 127 selections at the Belgian Lions. Loïc Schwartz, Quentin Serron and Roby Rogiers are not in the roster of twelve for tonight’s game against Great Britain. Tickets are still available via www.basketballbelgium.be/tickets.

Selection: Manu Lecomte, Jonathan Tabu, Alex Libert, Retin Obasohan, Jean-Marc Mwema, Vrenz Bleijenbergh, Hans Vanwijn, Pierre-Antoine Gillet, Maxime De Zeeuw, Haris Bratanovic, Kevin Tumba, Ismael Bako

Program pool I(points from the first round are taken into account):

25/08 20.30 Belgium-Great Britain; 28/08 19.00 Greece-Belgium; 10/11 Turkey-Belgium; 13/11 Belgium-Greece; 24/2 Great Britain-Belgium; 27/2 Belgium-Turkey

Stand poule I(top 3 placed for 2023 World Cup):

1. Greece 4-7; 2. Latvia 4-7, 3. Belgium 4-6; 4. Turkey 4-6; 5. Serbia 4-5; 6. Great Britain 4-5

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