U20 Women Semi-Final Preview
|Martyna Cebulska and Poland already know how it feels to beat Poland but can they upset the defending champions again?|
Russia will have to find a way to beat Poland if they are to defend their title at the U20 European Championship Women with their pair poised to face off again.
Poland won the first meeting 72-66 during the qualifying round but there will be much more at stake the second time around in Novi Sad, with no second chance for the losers.
"Our first win doesn't matter," said Poland coach Ivona Jablonska. "It will be very difficult. It will not be the same game as before because Russia now know it is a semi-final."
Russia booked their place in the final four in some style as they dispatched Great Britain 68-37.
It was the most dominant performance yet from a team whose only loss was that to Poland, but coach Dmitry Donskov hesitated when asked his team was yet playing at its best.
"We are very happy to have made it to the semi-finals," he said. "This was a big win for us, because this was about whether or not we were going to play for a medal, but we have played well."
Poland saw off France 62-47 to book their place, and looked like they might be back to their best after struggling last time out against Turkey. They will need to play like that again to be able to challenge Russia.
"We are very happy because we came through a difficult game but my team's organisation was very good," said coach Ivona Jablonska.
|Anastasiya Shilova and Russia are in fine fettle and will look to keep that momentum going|
"The Turkey game was disappointing, but we are a very black and white team. We can play very well sometimes, but also we can be very bad - you saw that against Turkey and Ukraine, but I believe in my team because they have a very strong heart."
Finding the right form at the right time is now what it is all about in the final stages of the competition.
Impressive wins over hosts Serbia and then Britain in the quarter-finals would suggest Russia are playing the kind of basketball they need to defend their title.
But Donskov does not want to get too far ahead.
"We are thinking only about the semi-finals, only about the next game," he said. "Anything can happen in basketball."