An Asian team, Iran, an African team, the Ivory Coast, and a South American team, Brazil, will be the rivals of the Spanish basketball team in Group G in the first phase of the next World Cup, an appointment to be held from August 25 to 10. September in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The team coached by Sergio Scariolo, current world and European champion, will play those matches in Jakarta, while from the quarterfinals the tournament will be played from September 5 in Manila, another of the initial venues along with Okinawa. . The first two teams from each of the eight groups go on to a second phase, a kind of round of 16 that will take place in the same city and in which the two classified from the other group from that venue will be measured. That is, the first and second in group G, Spain in Jakarta, will play a second phase against the first and second in group H (France, Canada, Latvia and Lebanon), also in the great capital of Indonesia, in 11 million inhabitants (33 million in the entire metropolitan area). In that other group of four, Spain would not play against the team against which it was already measured in the first phase (for example, Brazil), but only against the two from the other group (for example, France and Canada), and they drag the victories and defeats of the initial confrontations. The first two of this second group are those who advance to the quarterfinals.
In the crosses between the eight best in the world, Spain would have on its way a selection of the eight from groups E and H, who play in Okinawa (groups A, B, C and D do so in Manila). On the horizon of the selection, if it continues ahead, Slovenia, Germany, Australia, Finland already appear… The United States would walk through the other part of the World Cup table at least until the semifinals.
“You can see the great respect that everyone has for us,” explained the president of the Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, present at the draw in Manila, and who in May aspires to the presidency of FIBA Europe. “We are not so arrogant as to think that we are the best. There are teams with more talent and with more physique, but we have been the best due to continuity in performance. We continue with great humility and with an eye on generational change, which is the great objective at this time. The competitiveness of this team exceeds that of any other. The sum of the individualities has given a higher performance than expected”, commented the coach, Sergio Scariolo.
Spain is number one in the FIBA world ranking, ahead of the United States for the first time in history. La Familia’s rivals in the first phase occupy the 13th position on that list (Brazil), 22 (Iran) and 42 (Ivory Coast). The US team has been included in group C, one of the four that will land directly in Manila, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece as the main adversary in search of the first position in their league. The United States is looking for a new redemption, in this case after losing to France (79-89) in the quarterfinals of the last World Cup. At the controls as selector, Steve Kerr, the Golden State Warriors coach, replacing Gregg Popovich.
The group that seems most powerful in this first phase is E, with Germany, Finland, Australia and Japan. In F, the Slovenia of Luka Doncic against the rookie Cape Verde of Edy Tavares, the team with the smallest population, 590,000 inhabitants, in the history of the World Cup basketball championships. Among the 32 participants in the World Cup, hosts Japan and the Philippines are joined by 12 teams from Europe, seven from America, six from Asia and Oceania and five from Africa. Manila, the capital of the Philippines with a population of 1.8 million, will crown the world champion on September 10.
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