Since FIBA decided to stop the U21 World Championship in 2007 and change it to the U19 World Championship cycle from four years to two years. The followers of youth international basketball have been treated every two years to passionate quarter-final matches at the U18 Championships.
In 2010 Nika Baric and Slovenia were the surprise package and ended up in fourth place while in 2008 Lithuania, led by Aurime Rinkeviciute, became champions of Europe.
So far in this championship it is the Netherlands that are providing the glamour. They needed double overtime to beat Turkey (77-69) and secure their place in the semi-final.
The Netherlands have a host of players that are well known match winners at youth international level: Laura Cornelius, Isabella Slim, Kourtney Treffers and Emese Hof. With these reputed players you may forget about Lisanne De Jonge.
Turkey did not consider De Jong in their scouting and paid the price during the second overtime when she performed a simple head-fake and then finished with a lay-up (67-61) that opened the advantage that sent the Netherlands to victory. De Jong finished the game with 19 points.
You may watch the FIBA Europe highlights:
Russia used a 22-8 run in the second quarter to take control of the match against Italy and walk into the locker room with a considerable advantage (40-22).
The Russians once again shared the scoring with 10 players getting on the score sheet. Zhanna Byazrova was the leading scorer with 13 points while Alexandra Marchenkova added 12 points and picked up 9 rebounds.
For Italy Elena Ramò was the leading player with 15 points.
You may watch some of the game highlights:
The 1994 generation of players from Spain are yet to win a quarter-final match in a FIBA Europe event after falling to Serbia (60-64). At U16 level in 2010 Spain failed to qualify for the final for the first time since the creation of Division A in 2004.
For Serbia who have seen the U16 team relegated for the first time in their history the performance of the U18 team is a relief.
Spain went into the locker room leading (35-27) but failed to keep it simple in the second half and were punished for their generosity by the Serbians' clinical finishing in the final quarter.
The Serbians, led by the duo Natasa Kovacevic and Katarina Vuckovic with 14 points each, celebrated a well earned victory.
Serbia will meet Russia in the semi-final.
France beat Croatia (51-43) in the first quarter-final match and will meet the Netherlands in the second semi-final match.
The Czech Republic have brought an end to Romania's Division A status (70-67) and are one victory away from winning the relegation group. In the other match Poland beat Belgium (64-56).
In the minor classification games Sweden beat Slovenia (68-58) while the Slovak Republic walloped Greece (81-48).
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