LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - European champions and Beijing
Games silver medallists Spain must improve or face elimination
in the Olympic basketball tournament, forward Pau Gasol said
after they faded to an 88-82 loss against Brazil on Monday.
Spain's defeat means they will avoid favourites the United
States until the final but although the result worked in their
favour an angry Gasol told reporters he was deeply unhappy with
how his team, world champions in 2006, were playing.
"We didn't come here to avoid anyone," he said. "The way
we're playing right now we just have (to) concentrate on getting
better or we will be beaten in the quarter or semi-finals."
"We have great stretches where we dominate. And then there's
stretches where we're nowhere," added the growling 32-year old,
who averages 17 points a game with the LA Lakers.
"It is a lack of concentration, a lack of effort. We can't
win with talent alone."
Asked about likely quarter-final opponents France, he said:
"Any team is going to be hard at this stage the way we've been
playing. We have to be consistent, to play 40 minutes with the
After a row over badminton players throwing matches to
secure a better knockout stage draw and Japan's women's soccer
coach ordering his players not to win a match, Spain coach
Sergio Scariolo was asked about Spain's approach against Brazil.
"I don't show a lack of respect, but for us this is not an
intelligent issue, knowing who I am, who my players are, who our
Federation is, what we have done," he said several times at the
post-match news conference stressing his team had played to win.
It took a fourth-quarter surge by an impressive,
hard-running Brazil side to beat the Spaniards who also lost to
Russia and only just beat an unfancied Britain side by a point
among their previous Group B games.
(Writing by Patrick Graham; editing by Ken Ferris)