View Full Version : Spain rookie Rubio cautious but still has high expectations

07-02-2008, 04:35 PM
FIBA (http://www.fiba.com/pages/eng/fc/news/lateNews/p/newsid/26303/arti.html)

MADRID (Olympics) - Emerging star Ricky Rubio is hoping he and his Spain teammates can keep the country in a celebratory mood after the football team’s Euro 2008 title triumph in Vienna.

Luis Aragones’ team won their second major title and first in 44 years with a 1-0 victory over Germany.

Rubio and Spain will arrive at the Beijing Games as the defending world champions.

“I want to congratulate the football team, not only for winning the Euro 2008 but for how they have moved the nation,” Rubio said.

“Their triumph is a further example of the sweet moment that our national sport is experiencing and all I can say to the fans is that we will try to do the same in Beijing so that people can enjoy it as they have done in recent days.”

Rubio, 17, named to the ACB’s `Ideal Quintet’ after his first season as a starter at DKV Joventut, knows Spain will have a very hard road to the podium in China.

Spain cruised into the Olympic quarter-finals four years ago in Athens after five straight triumphs in the preliminary round, only to fall to the United States 102-94.

Spain left that disappointment behind when Pau Gasol and Jorge Garbajosa led the country to a gold medal at the FIBA World Championship two years later.

“We need to be ambitious,” Rubio said. “A medal should be an aim but it will be difficult to achieve.

“We have never had such a talented team as this one, with so many NBA players. We must take advantage of this generation.”

Spain are being cautious ahead of the Games. The federation made the controversial decision to sack coach Pepu Hernandez, the man who steered the team to the world title, and replaced him with Rubio’s former DKV coach Aito Garcia Reneses.

“There are high expectations regarding this team,” Rubio said.

“I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing because we may get a bronze medal and that for us would be a good achievement in a difficult competition where we have not achieved many medals.

“Team USA has a lot of quality and they have taken it very seriously. This is evident when looking at the team. They are coming to win the Olympic Games. They have 12 of the best players of their league and probably of their country.”

Spain are in the preliminary round group with the Americans, who have not won gold at an Olympics or FIBA World Championship since Sydney 2000.

“Team USA will want to bounce back from their previous setbacks and will be eager to prove they are still the best but they will have to do it on the court because a tournament like this one will surely make life difficult for them.”