|29 July 2012|
By Jared Grellet
***The Bronze-Medal Game live and for free on FIBA Europe TV 17:00 CET***
Serbia have been left little time to ponder what could have been following their heartbreaking loss to Turkey in the semi-finals at the Dadu U16 European Championship with the Balkan nation now needing to get up to play Italy in Sunday's silver medal game.
Both teams have reached the bronze medal game in similar circumstances.
Controlling the opening halves of their semis, both went wayward in the third quarter as they allowed their opponents back into the game before finding themselves playing catch up basketball in the final frame.
Similar to their semi-final clash, Italy enjoy a bigger turn around time ahead of their clash and will now look to make better use of that advantage against Serbia.
Federico Mussini has gone from strength to strength at this tournament and Italy require one final big performance out of their point guard. Going past 20 points in the quarter and semi-finals, Mussini has established himself as one of the leading playmakers in Vilnius.
Serbia did not hit a three-pointer until the final quarter against Turkey, before Ivan Duskalovic hit from outside four times in the final quarter. A similar performance from Serbia's sixth man in the third-place game could go a long way to securing his country a bronze medal.
Serbia were also guilty of giving up too many fouls against Turkey. They can not afford a similar mistake against Italy who rank second in the tournament behind Russia for converted free-throws.