The busiest player in the Great Britain squad on Tuesday?

Team manager Mark Lloyd, who had to ensure 18 collections of luggage were available after an early breakfast to ship out to Riga Airport for FIBA’s charter flight bound for Belgrade.

More fun that, than pressing the button on the various pre-optioned flights home from Latvia to London, Manchester and Madrid, had GB headed for the exit door of Women’s EuroBasket.

But still, an overnight logistical marathon. Why a good fixer behind the team is worth their weight in gold.

Into Serbia by lunchtime in the company of the French, Spanish and Swedes. Check-in, and then re-focus.

For Thursday, and what will be the opening quarter-final (Freesports, 11.30am) when Hungary stand between GB and the utterly unprecedented destination of the last four.

The side’s mantra – or, at least one of them, has been “game by game”. A well-worn cliché in sporting circles. Practiced though, judging by the lack of surety that many displayed over their subsequent tie with the Hungarians in the wake of Monday’s defeat of Montenegro.

But Chema Buceta – who passed on an immediate practice in Belgrade – will prepare himself quickly, no doubt relying heavily on the advance scouting machinations of Susana Garcia Senra who – bet your house on this – will have surely tapped up the Spanish for a video of their preparation friendly against the Group C winners to get their charges rapidly up to speed.

And while unheralded Hungary – who have achieved little since reaching the EuroBasket last four in 2003 – topped their pool by overcoming Italy and Slovenia before losing a meaningless contest with already-eliminated Turkey, they seem an enticing option.

“But if they were first in a tough group with Italy, Slovenia and Turkey, they are probably not a bad team,” Buceta cautioned. “Because they were able to be top in a very difficult group.

“Is Serbia stronger or is France stronger? Sure, but we played Spain and we were there. Now we have this game but we have rest and recover and adapt to a new environment in Serbia.”

But GB will play for something in every game from now on. First, for a spot in the last four which also secures a berth among the global elite at next year’s Olympic qualification tournament. Win, and you aim for the final. Lose in the last eight, and still that Olympian invite is at stake.

New pressures. Baggage-free, Karlie Samuelson shrugs.

“There is nothing to lose,” she said. “You can’t play tight. You can’t play with pressure,. Otherwise it goes downhill from there. We’ll play loose and see how it goes.”

Elsewhere on Tuesday in Belgrade, Belgium made surprisingly hard work of beating Slovenia 72-67 to set up a duel on Thursday with France. Russia beat Italy 63-54 for the remaining last eight berth.

Thursday’s quarter-finals (Belgrade). Great Britain v Hungary (11.30am), Spain v Russia (2pm), France v Belgium (5pm), Serbia v Sweden (7.30pm) – Times BST

Pic: MAP

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