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Petr Benda (CZE)

BRUSSELS (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - A coach will never be 100% certain of the make-up of his squad before a major international basketball tournament until the event gets underway.

The coaches of Czech Republic and Belgium know this only too well.

Some players get hurt late in the preparations while others recover just in time to take part.

Fearing he may not have captain Petr Benda for the competition in Slovenia, which tips off next week, Czech Republic coach Pavel Budinsky now knows the veteran big man will play after his recovery from a toe injury.

The 31-year-old averaged 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the Qualification Round, when the Czechs had to face sides like Italy and Turkey.

"I am completely healthy," Benda said. "The last couple of weeks I was perfectly fine. Had I not been 100%, I wouldn't be sitting here."

Benda, who left Nymburk to play last season in Germany for Braunschweig, is upbeat about the team's chances in Celje, where they will take on EuroBasket hosts Slovenia, Spain, Georgia, Poland and Croatia in Group C.

"We have a great group and I believe that we might surprise you in the European Championship (EuroBasket)."

The Czechs haven't played in the EuroBasket since 2007 in Spain.

Benda proved his fitness by playing on Thursday against Belgium in the second of two friendlies between the sides this week.

He had nine points while Lubos Barton poured in a team-high 17 as the Czechs won, 83-68.

Tomas Satoransky contributed 14 points.

A player that Belgium coach Eddy Casteels had wanted for the EuroBasket, small forward Matt Lojeski, picked up an injury during the SporToto Cup in Turkey and has been ruled out.

It's the second straight time before a EuroBasket that Belgium have lost a key player.

Axel Hervelle was ruled out through injury on the eve of the tournament two years ago in Lithuania.

Lojeski, who has signed for two-time defending Euroleague champions Olympiacos, tweeted: "Disappointed not being able to join Belgium in the euro championships! Going to Athens on Sunday to join my club team."

Belgium have called 23-year-old Quentin Serron back into the squad.

The 1.90m guard will make his first senior team appearance in a major tournament.

He played for the country's U16, U18 and U20 sides.

Belgium believe they have an excellent chance of progressing to the Second Round because they are in Group A, arguably the weakest of the four pools in the 24-team tournament.

Their First Round opponents in Group A are Israel, Great Britain, Germany, Ukraine and France.