Scariolo preparing Spain for 'demanding' FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying campaign


Spain coach Sergio Scariolo has sounded a warning over the difficulty of the task facing his side during their qualifying campaign for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Now in his second spell in charge, the Italian is hoping for a better return than Spain's quarter-final appearance under his guidance in 2010.

Spain, ranked second in the world, were again dumped out in the last eight three years ago but more is expected of Scariolo's men in 2019, with the competition shifted from its previous four-year cycle to avoid falling in a FIFA World Cup year.

But before they can think about the finals in China, Scariolo's side must first come through a qualifying group consisting of Montenegro, Slovenia and a team yet to come through pre-qualifying.

The top three sides will advance to a second round, where Europe's 12 representatives for the first 32-team edition of the tournament will be decided.

"It's a demanding group, with strong, talented teams that have tradition," Scariolo said on the Spanish Basketball Federation website.

"They obviously have some important players in the NBA but a high number of quality players in European basketball that will probably be a part of the squad selection for the qualifiers.

"The demand of this group forces us to give a lot of importance to the qualifying phase and reconfirms that we have done well to start to plan a specific work with a larger number of players of those that will be able to go to the EuroBasket.

"In this sense, we are satisfied to have looked in advance, being at the forefront in Europe in terms of thinking ahead of time about this qualifying campaign."

Sunday's draw in Guangzhou featured two-time Olympic gold medallist and six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen, with double defending champions USA placed in a qualifying group alongside Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

The qualification process begins in November, with 80 nations battling it out over six game windows across a 15-month period.