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High-spirit China ready to take on Spain

(Xinhua)

10:57, July 27, 2012

LONDON, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese men's basketball team showed high spirit in the first training on Wednesday after arriving here, and was ready to take on world champions Spain in the opener.

"We couldn't be more prepared. We're in a good state, good health. After a couple of days of practice and we'll get on," coach Robert Donewald Jr. said after the training session at the Lea Valley Training Centre.

China lost four times in the past three Olympics to Spain, but the last meeting at the 2008 Beijing Games was not an easy one for the eventual silver-medalists. Spain tried everything out to force an overtime to win a preliminary-round match by 85-75.

"I think experience will help. They (Spain) said they wanted to beat the United States for the gold medal here. I know we'll play the top team in the world, but I think we had played them before, which will take away our nerves," Donewald said.

Guard Wang Shipeng said, "We won't give up the match. Every match is important. Spain is a good team but we'll show them what we can do."

The Chinese team arrived in London on Tuesday after a two-match trip in Poland, where it won the first meeting with the Poland national team 73-72 and lost the second by 81-79.

"The matches showed the consistence of the team. We had chance to win both as Donewald put on some young players in the second match. But the results were not so important. We gained confidence from the games," said team leader Hu Jiashi.

"We played good games in Poland, and I think the team grew up a little bit," Donewald said. "We started badly in the first game. But suddenly we realized how to play like a team. I'm really happy about the matches."

Former Dallas Mavericks' forward Wang Zhizhi said the team is in a high spirit towards the first game against Spain on July 29.

"Poland was a strong opponent but we played well. The team is ready to give out some good games in the Olympics. People think we cannot enter the second phase. It doesn't matter. We'll see what we can do," Wang said.

China are drawn with Spain, Brazil, Australia, Russia and Britain in Group A. The men's tournament will start on July 29.

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