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Basketball - 16. January 2008.

ESP – Spain's Valdemoro looks ahead to tough qualifying games

MADRID (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament) – EuroBasket Women MVP Amaya Valdemoro of Spain didn’t pull any punches when asked about her national team’s path to the Beijing Olympics after Monday’s draw for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Spain were drawn in Group C along with Brazil and Fiji, with a quarter-final likely to come against Cuba or Belarus.

Five Olympic spots are up for grabs at the tournament.

"We have been drawn in the most difficult group,” said Valdemoro to FIBA.Com.

Valdemoro flew home to Spain from Russia where she plays for CSKA Moscow in order to attend the draw.

“While I don't think Fiji will pose any problems for us, we will face a tough test against Brazil. But the real danger will be in the quarter-finals where we will face either Cuba or Belarus.

“Cuba is a team that has changed a lot with respect to the past couple of years, they play a very similar basketball to us and should we face them, it will be a very difficult game.

“But it doesn't matter if we finish first or second (in Group C).

“With respect to Belarus, we faced them twice at the EuroBasket and we beat them twice.

“But they should be more aware of us than we of them.”

The teams that win the quarter-finals will book their places for the Beijing Games, while the four losers will drop into a pool that plays semi-finals and then a final.

The winner of that final will take the last qualifying spot for China.

"Let's not forget that we are runners-up in Europe and that in order to be at the Olympics, we will have to play at the best level,” Valdemoro said.

"For sure, to have our fans' support will be crucial and I'm sure we will have plenty of fans cheering us on in Madrid."


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