Italy’s 73-57 victory over Puerto Rico in the final game of the Second Round secured their place in the World Cup’s top eight, marking the first time in 25 years that they have reached this stage.
Gianmarco Pozzecco, offering a historical context for his team’s performance, described it as the most remarkable accomplishment in the history of Italy’s national basketball team.
Notably, Pozzecco himself was part of Italy’s last World Cup team to reach the Quarter-Finals back in 1998. Additionally, he contributed to the team’s silver medal victory at the 2004 Olympics.
“There is no comparing 1998 and now. It was totally different. I have so much respect for all my teammates who played for me or I played with them. And a coach Bogdan Tanjevic who is one of the best people I have ever met. But there is nothing to compare,” said Pozzecco, who was 27 years old at the 1998 World Cup.
“What these guys did is totally different. Every country has gotten better. You cannot relax against any team.
“What they did tonight you cannot compare with any national team that Italy has had in history. And I was part of the team that played 2004 in Athens and we won the silver medal. What they did until today … we didn’t do that.
“Because it was totally different basketball. Okay, we achieved great results and everybody remembers us for that in Italy. But they did something more.”