Despite the continuing failures on the top level, the basketball world recognized the competitive value of the Spainish National Team.
Players like Juan Carlos Navarro, Pau Gasol, Jorge Garbajosa, Rudy Fernandez and Jose Calderon made the difference. Players with a lot of talent, competing in the NBA, the best championship in the world, driving Spain up high. What they lacked was luck. Luck decided to smile in the Spanish team in the 2006 World Championship in Japan. With a great sporting spectacle, the Spaniards took a walk in the first round, the group’s only victories:
Spain – New Zealand 86-70
Spain – Panama 101-57
Spain – Germany 92-71
Spain – Angola 93-83
Spain – Japan 104-55
In the second round, Spain eliminated Serbia with the final result 87-75 victory. In the quarter-finals Spain defeated Lithuania – 89-67. In the semifinals a great power of the sport Ginobili ‘s Argentina waited Spain.
The game was dramatic and proved to be the most difficult of the tournament. The Spaniards will win a one-point difference at the end of the match (75-74) and qualify to the final for the first time in their history.
There they expected that they would face the Americans … But Greece after an epic race won with 6 point differential – 101-95 the best national team in the world and passed it to final!
And while everyone was expecting the most ambitious final in the history of the world championship, the Spaniards knew that this was their chance to win … They entered the race loudly and determined not to leave any room for reaction to the very good and unbeatable Greek National Team. The final score left no room for discussion. Spain swept Greece with a surprising 23 point margin final victory – 70-47 winning the World Championship title.
Spain’s basketball players were delighted and the whole country celebrated this great victory. The 3rd of September 2006 was the milestone date for Spanish basketball … It was a great vindication for this great school of world basketball, which for decades was looking for a gold medal. Its fate was to win the gold medal in the country of the rising sun! World Champions 2006:
Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jose Manuel Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa, Rudy Fernandez, Carlos Jimenez, Carlos Cabezas, Berni Rodriguez, Felipe Reyes, Marc Gasol, Alex Mumbru, Sergio Rodriguez, Coach: Jose Vicente ” Pepu ” Hernandez.
The 2007 European Championship was set up by Madrid.
Everyone knew Spain was the absolute favorite for the trophy. The Spaniards having the best team in their history were ready to conquer the much-needed European championship.
In the first round they won against Portugal – 82-56 and Latvia – 93-77 while they lost against the Croats with 85-84 in a non-decisive game where both teams have been qualified.
In the second round and in the new group that was formed, Spain finished in the first place by taking a walk. Spain won all three games against the former European Champion Greece (76-58), Russia (81-69) and Israel (99-73) in the quarter-finals.
Than Spain crashed Germany – 83-55 and went into the semifinals. Greece proved to be a tough team and the classic summer appointment of the two evolved into a thriller. In the end, Spain won with great difficulty by 5 points – 82-77 and went through a final European championship.
Everyone believed that it was time for Spain to win also the European Championship. In the final they would face Russia, which Spain in the second phase of the tournament had won it comfortably 81-69. Russia was in the final European Championship for the first time since 1993 and everyone considered it as an underdog. And yet … At the Palacio de Deportes in Madrid on September 16, 2007 the European Championship final will be of a modest quality. Spaniards with the passage of time and in front of their 15,000 fans were getting anxious. They lead most of the game but in the last few minutes the difference got smaller.
The Russians were starting to believe that they could win the game, while the Spaniards’ hands start to tremble and the ball was more “heavy”.
Russia was ahead by a one-point difference. The Spaniards needed to attack in the last few seconds. Pau Gasol felt short in the last possession and Russia got an unexpected 60-59 victory and the European title!
15,000 Spaniards in the stadium and millions of basketball fans from the televisions could not believe in their eyes.
Spain had lost another European final. If it wasn’t the win in the last year’s world championship in Japan, surely the disappointment would be absolute.
Coach Pepu Hernandez was replaced by Aito Garcia Reneses. A terrible coincidence: On the same day, and just a little bit earlier than the start of the final basketball, in Moscow, Russia, the superpower of volleyball, lost the final of the European Volleyball Championship from the underdog Spain! Players who won the 2007 Silver European Medal:
Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Cabezas, Berni Rodriguez, Jose Manuel Calderon, Sergio Rodriguez, Alex Mumbru, Jorge Garbajosa, Marc Gasol Carlos Jimenez, Felipe Reyes, Coach: “Pepu” Hernandez.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, all of the world’s basketball fans were hoping to see the final between the US and Spain. Their desire became a reality twice! The two teams met in the early group stage as the Americans crashed the Spaniards – 119-82.
The Spaniards on their way to the final did not make another defeat, on the contrary they showed many times all those virtues that were distinguishing them from the rest of the teams. Their results in the first phase matches:
Spain – Greece 81-66
Spain – China 85-75
Spain – Germany 72-59
Spain – USA 82-119
Spain – Angola 98-50
The final was held in Beijing on August 16, 2008 between the US and Spain. The Americans had the lead in the score for most of the game, but the Spaniards were fighting back. The difference between the two teams was obvious. The Americans won the gold medal but Spain won the impressions and the appreciation of the entire basketball world.
Amazing tournament for all the players of the Spanish National Team who won another great talent Ricky Rubio. The Spanish roster that won its second silver medal in 2008:
Jose Manuel Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, Jorge Garbajosa, Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Raul Lopez, Alex Mumbru, Carlos Jimenez Sanchez, Felipe Reyes, Berni Rodriguez, Ricky Rubio, Coach: Aito Garcia Reneses.
In the 2009 European Championship that was held in Poland, Spain was once again the big favorite, with a new coach the Italian Sergio Scariolo.
But the beginning of the tournament was proven to be tough for the Furias Rojas as they were defeated in the first match by the Serbians – 66-57.
Then by the Britain squad – 84-76. Eventually, in the crucial match against Slovenia, Spain qualified winning by 6 points – 90-84.
The second round, which continued in the form of groups, started with a new defeat for the Spaniards this time from the promising Turkey by 3 points – 63-60.
In the next two games in order to qualify for the quarter-finals, the Spaniards came with the victory against Lithuania – 84-70 and host team Poland – 90-68.
It was obvious that the players in the Spanish team had gained back their lost self-confidence, that they usually miss in European championships.
Confident about themselves they crushed the French team in the quarter-finals by 20 points – 86-66 and the Greeks in the semi-finals by 18 points – 82-64.
This way Spain showed everyone who was the favorite for the title. And indeed on September 20, 2009 in Katowice, Poland, Spain won the final against Serbia by 18 points – 85-63. Spain conquered the European trophy for the first time in its history and after six lost Eurobasket finals!
A curse that lasted for decades had already been broken for the Spaniards who rightly celebrated the victory of their first gold medal in their history! The European Champions 2009 roster:
Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Raul Lopez, Carlos Cabezas, Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Alex Mumbru, Jorge Garbajosa, Marc Gasol, Victor Claver, Felipe Reyes, Coach: Sergio Scariolo.
The 2010 World Championship held in Turkey was a bad experience for Spain. The Spaniards seemed uncoordinated, nervous and away from the high performance standards that were used to play.
France defeated Spain by 8 points – 72-66 at the premiere of the first round. Then, a comfortable win over New Zealand – 101-84. However the Lithuanians defeated the Spaniards by 3 points the following macth – 76-73.
The former results put Spain into a difficult situation.
Finally, with two comfortable victories over Lebanon (91-57) and Canada (89-67), Spain was qualified for the World Championship round of ’16 ‘.
To enter the quarter-finals Spain had to compete for one more summer with Greece. In a tough and difficult match the Spaniards stepped over Greece by 8 points – 80-72.
However, in the next round, Serbia got the best of Spanish team winning by 3 point margin 92-89.
The former result was taken as revenge for their defeat in the 2009 European Championship final.
As so, the Spaniards instead of claiming their place in the final, they ended up in the fifth place.
In the 2011 European Championship that was held in Lithuania, Spain was invited to defend its crown from 2009.
And Spain did so with great success.
In the first phase finished comfortably in the first place of its group winning: Poland – 83- 78, Portugal – 87-73, Great Britain – 86-79, Lithuania – 91-79.
Spain only lost to an non-decisive game against Turkey – 57-65.
In the second round and in the new group that was created, Spain won: Germany – 77-68, Serbia – 84-59, France – 96-69 and qualified to the quarter-finals.
Then the Spanish team defeated Slovenia – 86-64 and went into the semifinals. F.Y.R.O.M proved to be a very tough team, making Spaniards “sweat” to eventually win by 8 points – 92-80 in the most difficult game of the tournament for them.
In the final, France, although having a good team, was unable to compete with the Spaniards, who won the final 98-85 and the European Championship.
Spain throughout the European championship was clearly the upper team and its game again had many high quality moments. European Champions 2011:
Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jose Calderon, Felipe Reyes, Victor Claver, Fernando San Emeterio, Sergio Llull, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Victor Sada, Coach: Sergio Scariolo.
Spanish National Team in recent years is clearly the best team in the history of Spanish basketball, but also one of the best the world has ever seen, with the exception of the teams represented by the United States.