|27 August 2012|
|Jonas Jerebko and Sweden might have lost at Germany on Friday, but they can draw positives from their performance that will be helpful for the road ahead |
The door to EuroBasket 2013 hasn't slammed shut for Sweden, but it will soon if Brad Dean's team doesn't rally and string together a few wins.
Three games into their Qualification Round campaign and the Swedes are 1-2 in Group B.
The good news for Sweden is that both of their losses have come away from home, at Bulgaria and Germany.
They also won convincingly against an Azerbaijan team that surprised Bulgaria in Baku.
Also cause for hope is the competition format.
Not only do the top two sides in each of the six Qualification Round groups progress to the Final Round, but also the four best third-place teams.
As it is, however, the Swedes are fourth in the group behind Germany (3-0), Bulgaria (2-2) and Azerbaijan (2-1).
Coach Dean does sense, however, that his team may have taken a small step forward at the end of the game against Germany.
Sweden outscored the visitors, 24-15, over the last 10 minutes.
"I want to believe that what we showed in the fourth quarter indicates that we are on track to get used to playing at this level," Dean said.
"We knew before qualifying that it would be tough with many trips and many games against tough opposition in a short time.
"It's the same for everyone."
Next up for Sweden is a home game in Norrköping against Luxembourg.
Dean is going to be reminding his players of how they played late against Germany to bolster their confidence.
"Germany is a really good team," he said.
"We have not faced any team that has been as good this summer.
"Therefore, it was at least somewhat positive that we played with them in the fourth quarter.
"I want to see it as a sign that we are starting to get used to the level and to know how we have to play."