EuroBasket 2011: Lithuania To Host 24 Teams, Who Will Vie For Two Olympic Berths

EuroBasket 2011, held in Lithuania, will begin August 31. Twenty-four teams will battle it out to be named the champions of Europe and -- for the top two finishers -- an automatic berth in the 2012 London Olympics. Getting into the Olympics is difficult as FIBA can place just 12 teams. Those European teams who don't make the EuroBasket finals will have to qualify via a last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next summer, provided they are invited.

Lithuania is the host nation and with powerhouse Spain, the defending European champion, will anchor Group A, a veritable group of death which also features Turkey. Victims of Group A include Great Britain, Poland and one of the two qualifiers that earns a bid via a small qualifying tournament in early August.

Group B features a number of sometimes strong contenders in Serbia, France, Italy and Germany, as well as up-and-coming teams Latvia and Israel. Group C has Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and the other last-chance qualifier. Group D in rounded out with Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria and Belgium.

Other regional Olympic qualifying tournaments will also be held this summer. The United States will not participate in the FIBA Americas tournament on account of already having been qualified for the Olympics by winning the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

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