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Slovenia, one-time 3×3 European champion

One of those upsets was produced in the European championship by a little country in Europe. That country is located in the southeastern part of the continent and it’s famous for skiing resorts. We are talking about Slovenia and the heroes of our story today did an impossible couple of years ago. Let’s see what their past looked like.

What was the first big tournament Slovenia took part in?

Slovenian expedition traveled to the Greek city Athens to compete with the best countries on the planet in 2012. It was the first-ever 3×3 World Cup and every team wanted to give maximum on the global stage. Members of the Slovenian roster were: Simon FinzgarAdin KavgicDavor Settler, and Rok Vrecic

Country from southeastern Europe was in group B together with Serbia, Spain, Czech Republic, Latvia, and Nepal. Simon Finzgar and his teammates won all five games in the group stage, but were surprisingly stopped in the Last 16 phase against Venezuela.

What was the next challenge for the Slovenian 3×3 expedition?

The next challenge for the Slovenian national squad was the second planetary championship which was held in Moscow, the Russian capital. Slovenian players wanted to change the impression they left two years ago in Greece. Players who represented the nation in this competition were: Blaz CresnarJasmin HercegovacAles Kunc, and Rok Smaka.

Rok Smaka and his colleagues were in pool D along with Serbia, Croatia, China, Japan, and Indonesia. They had four victories and one loss and qualified for the quarterfinal. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic won convincingly against Slovenia with 21-8 in the Top 8 phase.

How far did Slovenia go in the first continental championship?

First-ever Europe Cup in 3×3 was held in the Romanian city Bucharest in 2014. The expectations of a 3×3 audience in this small country were high ahead of the start of the championship. The Slovenian squad included Blaz CresnarJasmin HercegovacAles Kunc, and Rok Smaka

Slovenian roster competed with Romania, Azerbaijan, and Italy in pool C. Jasmin Hercegovac’s team won all three games in the group stage and proceeded to the elimination stage. Estonia and Greece were beaten in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively. However, host Romania was too strong in the game for the gold medal and pulled out a 19-16 victory over Slovenia.

Which competition was next in the history of the 3×3 Slovenian team?

The Slovenian 3×3 national team qualified for the second Europe Cup which was organized by Romania once again. 

Spectators from Slovenia were disappointed after previous failures and didn’t have such big expectations.  Players who were invited to the continental championship in 2016 were: Simon FinzgarAdin Kavgic, Gasper Ovnik, and Anze Srebovt.

The heroes of our story were in pool B along with Italy and Ukraine and took first place in group standings with two victories. Poland and Russia were defeated convincingly in the elimination before facing mighty Serbia in the final. Anze Srebovt and his teammates beat Serbia in the game for the title with 19-17.

It was shocking news for the world 3×3 basketball audience. You can watch a full final game here:

What result did Slovenia achieve in the 2016 World Cup?

Slovenian fans have great expectations regarding World Cup in the Chinese city Guangzhou. Those hopes were based on the trophy this squad won a couple of months earlier. Players who were called for the Slovenian national team for this tournament were:  Simon FinzgarAdin KavgicGasper Ovnik, and Anze Srebovt.

The heroes of our story won all four games in the group stage and the opponents were: Uruguay, Indonesia, Egypt, and Andorra. Hungary was beaten in the quarterfinal, but the mighty USA appeared as an unsurmountable obstacle in the semi.

What was the first competition for Slovenia in the 2017 World Cup?

The hero of our paragraphs prepared hard for this tournament and aimed to achieve a good result in the 2017 World Cup in French City Nantes. The Slovenian roster included Anze Srebovt, Gasper OvnikSimon Finzgar, and Adin Kavgic.

Slovenia competed with France, Philippines, Romania, and El Salvador in pool B. Anze Srebovt’s team had 4 victories and took first place in the group standings. First-placed team from group A beat Qatar with 18-15 in the quarterfinal and lost to Netherlands with 13-12 in the Top 4 stage.

How was Slovenian performance in the second big tournament in 2017?

The Slovenian team was the no. 2 seed before the continental championship which was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands capital. Only Serbia was a bigger favorite and members of the Slovenian roster were:  Anze SrebovtGasper OvnikSimon Finzgar, and Adin Kavgic

This country fought for the elimination stage in pool B together with Latvia and the Czech Republic. Heroes of today’s story ended in first place with two victories in the pool. Slovenia beat Russia with 17-13 in the quarterfinal and Ukraine with 22-8 later in the semi. 

Unfortunately, Simon Finzgar and his colleagues lost in the game for the gold medal against Latvia with 16-13. They could be satisfied with their overall performance during those couple of days and supporters in southeastern European country gave them support ahead of upcoming challenges.

How did Slovenian players react to failure in the final of the 2017 Europe Cup?

The planetary championship was held in the Philippines in 2018 and gathered the best the world 3×3 basketball can offer at that moment. Slovenia appeared one more time on the big stage and had opponents Poland, Estonia, Japan, and Indonesia. The roster included the same players as in the previous competition.

Heroes of our paragraphs won 3 games and lost 1 in the group stage which was enough for participating in the quarterfinal. Ukraine was beaten in the quarterfinal, but Slovenia lost to the Netherlands in the semi. Consolation for Anze Srebovt and his teammates was winning the game for the bronze medal against Poland.

How did the 2018 Europe Cup go for the Slovenian squad?

Slovenia built a good reputation over the past couple of years and they were constantly participating in big competitions. They qualified for the fourth Europe Cup and the same members were invited to the tournament as in the 2018 World Cup.

The national squad competed with France and Switzerland in pool B and made two victories. That was enough for qualifying for the quarterfinal where they faced Poland. Poland was defeated, but Latvia was fatal in the next round in a tight match. Comfort was winning against Russia in the game for third place.

How were the performances of Slovenia in 2019?

The same team represented the nation in 2019 World Cup which was organized by Amsterdam, the Netherlands capital. Slovenia was in the pool together with France, Qatar, Lithuania, and China. They finished the group stage in second place with a 3-1 score. However, the USA was too strong in the quarterfinal.

Which place did Slovenia take in the continental championship in 2021?

Paris, the French capital, hosted the best countries on the continent in 2021. The event was held after the 2021 Olympic Games and the Slovenian squad looked different compared to one performing in previous competitions.

Mensud JulevicSimon Finzgar, and Stojan Djekanovic were invited to the Slovenian national team. They had Estonia and Poland as opponents in the pool and the heroes of our story ended the tournament with two defeats.

What did the Slovenian roster look like in the 2022 World Cup?

Adrian HirschmannGasper Jordan RojkoJure Licen, and Jakob Strel were called for the Slovenian national squad. Passionate fans in this country believed that new names in the team could bring the nation another gold. Jakob Strel and his colleagues had a battle with Belgium, the United States, Austria, and Egypt for the elimination stage in group D.

They ended the group stage with a 1-3 score and were eliminated disappointingly from further competition.

How did Slovenian players handle the public pressure after disappointment in the 2022 World Cup?

Ziga Habat replaced Jure Licen and the rest of the squad remained unchanged for the challenges in the 2022 Europe Cup. The host of the continental contest was the Austrian city Graz. Slovenia competed in a group with superior Serbia and Israel. Desperation continued in the Slovenian roster as they suffered two convincing losses. It was the end of the tournament for them.

Spectators love to see shocks and surprises in the big tournaments in any sport. It’s a great experience for them when they see how the underdog beat the giant and favorite in the most unexpected scenario. Those games are good for the promotion of the sport and it is also a good message for life.

About the author

Marjan Nikolic

Passionate sports guy, coming from the eastern Europe where best basketball is played (yeah, I know you will not agree!). Dynamic 3x3 basket has special place in my heart.

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