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Hernan Amaya (ARG)
ARG - Amaya thrilled to watch team reach the big event

BUENOS AIRES (FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - Hernan Amaya never expected Argentina to fall into an easy group for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women to be held in Lithuania this summer (18-28 July).

There are no easy groups in the event.

However, no one can deny that Amaya's side will have it as hard as any team because it ended up in Group B with Spain, Australia and Japan.

The challenge is enormous, yet he believes his squad can have a successful tournament.

"I have a lot of trust in the players in the squad that we have," Amaya said.

"I think of the FIBA Americas in Puerto Rico (2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women), where we played good basketball and yet our team still did not play at its best."

The Argentinians clinched their place for Lithuania with a bronze-medal finish in Gurabo last summer.

Other than a blowout defeat to the United States, Amaya’s team either won or remained in games until the end.

In the Semi-Finals, Brazil beat them 67-54, but they rebounded for a 53-49 win over Canada in the Bronze Medal Game.

"The group is very strong," Amaya said.

"No one can argue against the potential of Australia and Spain in women's basketball, and Japan's recent performances, especially in younger categories, have been very good.

"However, it is very much a group of temperament, great tactical level and daily improvement in technique which allows us to look ahead to the challenge we face with optimism.

"In a World Championship, there are no easy opponents,” Amaya said, “and several years ago, we dreamed of being there with this group (of players) that started in the South American U15 Portoviejo (Ecuador, 2009), so it’s the icing on the cake for this process."

The top three sides in each Preliminary Round group at the FIBA U19 World Championship will advance to the Eight-Final Round, which will have two groups of six teams.

The top eight teams from the Eight-Final Round will advance to the Final Round - the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals.

Argentina have finished on the podium at an U19 World Championship for Women once before.

In 2009, when the event was staged in Bangkok, Thailand, the Argentinians captured the bronze medal.

The USA have won five of the last six gold medals, with the Czech Republic interrupting that string of success by claiming the title in 2001.


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