France gets relatively easy group for Euro 2015
PARIS (AP) — Defending champion France has been handed a relatively easy opening group for the 2015 European basketball championship at Monday’s draw in Disneyland, near Paris.
The tournament was slated for Ukraine, but was moved because of unrest. France will stage a group in Montpellier and the final stage of the September tournament in Lille. Other group matches will be spread around three other European cities: Berlin; Zagreb, Croatia; and Riga, Latvia.
Group A in Montpellier comprises France, Finland, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland and Israel.
Group B in Berlin is the toughest with two-time champion Spain and World Cup runner-up Serbia facing Germany, Turkey, Italy and Iceland.
Group C in Zagreb features Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Macedonia, Georgia and the Netherlands, while Group D in Riga has Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Four teams from each group advance to the final stage.
The group stage will be played Sept. 5-11, with the final stage Sept. 12-20.
The finalists qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Four other teams will advance to an Olympic qualifying tournament.