Qualified Team Focus – Greece: Spanoulis counted on leading way

Qualified Team Focus – Greece: Spanoulis counted on leading way

MIES (Switzerland) – It is now time to meet the six teams in this FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 Greece with the dream of becoming Olympic champions this summer.

Here is the number 14 team in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, the four-time Olympics participants Greece. The Europeans are hoping to reach the Olympics for the first time since 2008 – with the hope of legendary former star guard Vasilis Spanoulis leading the way as new head coach.

How they qualified

Greece went into the
FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 aiming for their first podium finish at a major competition since third place at the FIBA EuroBasket 2009Hellas started with a 21-point win over Jordan before losing to USA by 28 points. A nine-point victory over New Zealand sent Greece into the Second Round.

The second group stage did not go as planned with a 92-67 blowout loss to Lithuania and then a four-point loss to Montenegro to finish Group J in last place.

Greece eventually finished in 15th place at the FIBA World Cup. That qualified them for the OQTs as one of the best 16 remaining teams that did not advance directly to the Summer Olympics.

Greece were then selected to be hosting one of the OQTs, with six nations coming to Piraeus from July 2-7, 2024. The winner of the OQT will book a spot at Paris 2024.

Record at the Olympics

Greece at the 2008 Olympics

Appearances: 4 -1952 (17th); 1996 (5th); 2004 (5th); 2008 (5th)
Medals: 0

Recent OQT history*

* Since 2008


Greece have participated in the OQTs for each of the last four Olympic tournaments. Hellas have not produced the results they hoped though, reaching the 2008 Beijing Olympics but missing out on the last three Olympic Games.

With the 2008 OQT in Athens, Greece beat Lebanon and Brazil in the group phase and then rolled past New Zealand and Puerto Rico to qualify for Beijing.

In 2012 in Venezuela, Greece beat Jordan and Puerto Rico to take first place in the group but then were upset by Nigeria in the Quarter-Finals 80-79. The Greeks played the 2016 OQT in Turin, Italy and defeated Iran and Mexico in the group stage. But they could not get past Croatia in the Semi-Finals with a 66-61 loss.

For the 2020 Olympics, Greece were part of the OQT in Victoria, Canada. The Greeks were beaten 97-91 by Canada in their opener and then bounced back with a 25-point win over China. Greece this time were able to get past the Semi-Finals with an 18-point victory over Türkiye. But Greece failed their latest attempt by losing 97-72 to Czechia in the Final. 

Last Olympics appearance 

After going through the OQT, Greece were unable to open their 2008 campaign with a win, losing by 15 points to Spain. They walloped Germany by 23 points only to lose their third game by 23 points to the United States. 

Greece punched back and downed Angola by 41 points and beat China by 14 points to reach the Quarter-Finals with a 3-2 record and third place in the group.

Greece’s opponents in the final eight were Argentina, who had beaten the Europeans at the same stage four years earlier in Athens. The game was close throughout and Argentina prevailed in the end 80-78, ending Greece’s hopes of finally reaching the Semi-Finals for the first time.

The OQT Group Phase 

 The famed Peace and Friendship Stadium

Greece’s road to the Olympics will not be easy, even though they will have the backing of the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus. They start the Group B play against the Dominican Republic – a team that finished ahead of the Greeks in the final standings of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Greece will then take on underdogs Egypt.

The two top teams from both Groups A and B reach the Semi-Finals and the Greeks would have to face one of Croatia, New Zealand, and Slovenia with another victory in the Final needed to reach the Paris Olympics.

Greece OQT games

vs Dominican Republic (July 3)
vs Egypt (July 4)

Players to watch

The Greek’s main leader will be Giannis Antetokounmpo, who urgently wants to reach the Olympics and shine in Paris. As always with the NBA superstar, it will be up to the Greek coaching staff to figure out how Antetokounmpo can play within the team system.

The Greece team has so much more talent than just the former NBA MVP though. Dinos Mitoglu, Thomas Walkup and Nick Calathes are all major stars in Europe. Georgios Papagiannis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas and Ioannis Papapetrou know how to win big games as well.

Kostas Papanikolaou and Thomas Walkup

There are also the likes of Nikos Rogkavopoulos, Giannoulis Larentzakis, Michail Lountzis and Vasilis Charalampopoulos. And naturally there is Giannis’ brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

Qualified Team Focus series

During coming weeks and months, we will continue to check out all teams ready to step out as part of our Qualified Team Focus series. You can already take a look at Slovenia here.


Related Articles