The Netherlands marked their return to the top echelons of European basketball with a thrilling victory over Georgia ©AFP/Getty Images

After a 26-year absence from the top tier of European basketball, The Netherlands marked a glorious return with a thrilling 73-72 victory over Georgia in Zagreb as EuroBasket 2015 opened across four cities.

The comeback was particularly impressive considering the Dutch relinquished a 12-point lead deep into the fourth-quarter in their Group C opener before fighting back in the closing stages.

"We gave up the big lead but stayed with it and got the lead back," said Worthy De Jong, who led the Dutch charge with 16 points and six rebounds.

"That shows how much faith we have in each other.

"We were on the vibe, emotionally and physically.

"We had something going together, that was one of the most important things to this game."

Consisting of four groups of six teams, group stage action is taking place across the four cities of Berlin, Montpellier, Riga and Zagreb, with knock-out action then taking place in Lille ahead of a final on September 20.

Elsewhere in Group C, hosts Croatia edged Slovenia 80-73 while Greece were more comfortable 85-65 winners over Macedonia.

The opening-day clash which had everyone most excited, however, came in Group B, where 2009 and 2011 winners Spain were beaten by Serbia in a match that was a repeat of the 2009 final, albeit with a different result.

Serbia edged Spain in a battle between two Group B heavyweights ©AFP/Getty Images
Serbia edged Spain in a battle between two Group B heavyweights ©AFP/Getty Images

The Spaniards, who also came third at the 2013 event in Ljubljana, were unable to recover from a poor third quarter as the Balkan side accelerated to an 80-70 victory in the German capital.

Nemanja Bjelica led the way for the victorious 2014 World Cup silver medallists, scoring a sensational 24-points, along with 10-rebounds.

Germany were pushed hard before beating Iceland 71-65, with Dallas Mavericks veteran Dirk Nowitzki scoring 15 points, while Turkey edged Italy 89-87 in another exciting clash.

Another National Basketball Association star was to the fore as San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, Most Valuable Player at the 2013 EuroBasket, continued this form as he inspired France to a 97-87 overtime victory against Finland.

A 17-0 second-half run helped Israel see off Russia 76-73 while Poland clung on to overcome Bosnia and Herzegovina 68-64.

In Group D, 2013 silver medallists Lithuania survived a scare by Ukraine before winning 69-68 by a single point in Riga,

Czech Republic's were far too strong for Estonia as they won 80-57, while hosts Latvia defeated Belgium 78-67.

Action continues across the groups with another full day of matches tomorrow.

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