Madrid, Aug 4 IANS | 3 months ago

There is huge pressure on the Spanish basketball team ahead of the FIBA World Cup which begins Aug 30.

The fact that Spain are hosts has heightened expectations of a squad which was crowned world champions in 2006 and followed that success up with silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games as well as the 2011 European Championship, reports Xinhua.

Most Spaniards expect destiny to lead to a final which would pit Spain against the might of the US, and after two weeks of physical preparation in Madrid, the Spanish now start a series of friendly games to put the finishing touches to their challenge.

"The team is used to playing with pressure, we have been in finals of European Championships, World Championships and also in the NBA and the players know how to live with that. Now we have to change that pressure into hope and make it another positive so we can transmit our expectations to the fans and give them something for the support they have given us," said Spain coach Juan Antonio Orenga in an interview with sports paper 'Diario AS.'

Orenga was not shy of talking about a final which many are looking on as almost destiny.

"We have to dream about that final, whoever it is against, because if we don't dream of the final, then we are not going to get there, but first we have to think about our matches against Iran, Egypt and then Brazil. If we don't win those games then we are not going to get to the final. It is going to be very hard and we all know that, but our aim is to win," he said.

Orenga took the example of 2010 when Spain disappointed in the last World Championships, when they were knocked out of the quarter-finals by Serbia.

"I don't want that to happen again, we spoke a lot about the final and then we didn't get there," said Orenga, who tried to put some context into the expectations.

"If a side is better and they beat you, there is not much you can do. We have a gold medal and a fourth place in World Championships, and nothing more. If it was easy, we'd have won more often."

"You can't win all of the time and nobody does. You can have a bad day and that has happened with this squad four years ago. We got through it and won the 2011 European Championship, we know what happens and that motives us more," he concluded.

(Posted on 04-08-2014)

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