Monday, June 27

Pau Gasol opens his last dance with Spain

  • The pivot begins, at the age of 41, his farewell tournament with the national team against the hosts and in Saitama, where he won the 2006 World Cup.

Pau Gasol will start this Monday on last Dance with the selection. And to put the finishing touches on his career, there couldn’t be a better dance floor than Saitama, where he achieved world gold in 2006. There have been times in the last two years when the two-time NBA champion center was the only one who thought he would be watching. on the parquet and not again from the bench. An injury prevented him from playing the final of the first World Cup in Spain and, 15 years later and at 41, he was not willing for another to make him miss another appointment at the Japanese temple, where they will open the dance against the hosts (14.00, TVE).

If the injury to the eldest Gasol in the 2006 semifinals further united La Family and made them conspire to dedicate the gold to him in 2006, the injury of the young Hernangómez has been a blow to his brother and to the rest of the group. Juancho had hurried to be but finally has remained at the gates of Olympus, after his team, Minnesota Timberwolves, refused to let him travel. «The loss of Juancho is obviously very important. Now we have no time to lament, the important thing is to protect Juancho, who has suffered an injustice, “said Sergio Scariolo yesterday. “Juancho is sad, disappointed and as a colleague and I also consider myself a friend, I think that on a personal level justice has not been done,” Rudy Fernández agreed. He has fought from the get-go, and when a player prepares so much to be in the Olympics… But we know what it is. the family, we will be with him and he with us, and waiting for Xabi [López-Arostegui] so that he joins the team as soon as possible ».

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The four survivors

The Real Madrid forward is, together with the GasoHe and to Chacho rodriguez, one of the four survivors of the team that achieved glory. And he admits that going back to Saitama gives him a special tingle. “The pavilion remains the same, it has changed very little, and we have very good memories. Above all, that in 2006 Chacho and I were kids and now we are one of the most veteran of the team. It is the only thing that has changed, the illusion is still intact and hopefully we can compete and compete for a medal on this track ».

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The golden generation of Spanish basketball has won two World Cups (2006 and 2019) and three Europeans (2009, 2011 and 2015), but the Games have resisted them, despite having chained two silver and one bronze. And that the Olympic track has played two of its best matches in these two prodigious decades: the finals of Beijing-2008 and London-2012 against him. Dream team commanded by Kobe bryant. The Los Angeles myth congratulated Pau, his squire in the Lakers, after both games in which Spain put the galaxy of NBA stars on the ropes. Kevin Durant he is now the only one who continues in a US team that seems human, after defeats against Nigeria and Australia in preparation and this Sunday against France. Spain, which has already protected Dream team In Las Vegas, he now has the strength to go for the gold he has left but to do so he will have to first solve a group stage in which not just any mistake is paid dearly. Before the two demanding duels against Argentina (which he knocked down in the final of the last World Cup) and Doncic’s Slovenia, he will have to knock down Japan first, which already surprised France a week ago. “Japan is certainly a dangerous team, we have seen them win with great ease first against Belgium and then even against France, with a really very impressive performance,” Scariolo warns about the team led by the Argentine Julio Lamas and has two wingers. NBA centers: Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe.

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