With just one day’s play remaining in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Korea, the Philippines and Egypt are already out of contention for the next phase of the tournament. They have lost all their matches so far and even if they win on Thursday, there is no come back for them. The teams, which have already booked their passage into the knock-out phase are; Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Greece, Lithuania, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain and USA. Therefore, the remaining seven spots will be decided on Thursday after which, the next stage of the tournament will begin in Barcelona and Madrid from September 6. There was plenty of action on Day 5, at the end of which several teams still have tense struggle ahead of them before their fates could be decided for the next stage on the last day of the Group Phase on September 4. Puerto Rico, France, Iran, Croatia Finland, New-Zealand, Angola and Korea have crunch games on Thursday and it will be interesting to see which of them come through.
On Wednesday, 12 matches were played at all World Cup venues, involving every participating nation. USA stamped their superiority by blasting the Dominican Republic 106-71 with Kenneth Faried showing his class once again. The big man came into action after a keenly fought first quarter, which ended at 25-22. Faried played for 17 minutes and scored 16 points with 6 rebounds. His efforts resulted in the second quarter ending with 31-19 and third with 25-11. Last match’s hero Anthony Davis also scored 10 points and Stephen Curry added another 8. Though Dominican Republic’s forceful game in the fourth restricted the fourth quarter score to 25-19, USA romped home with a 35 point victory margin.
In Wednesday’s most thrilling match, Turkey beat Finland 77-73 in overtime. Turkey’s forward Omer Asik scored 22 points with 8 rebounds. But it was Cenk Akyol’s 3-pointer with four seconds left that forced the overtime. Another Turkish player, who excelled was Emir Preldzic, who scored 13 points with 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Other contributors included; Ender Arslan with another 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists and Kerem Gonlum, who scored 10 with 8 rebounds. The victory took turkey to the third place in Group C, while Finland is at the bottom. Turkey take on Dominican Republic in their last game on Thursday. Finland’s next match will be against New Zealand and they require a huge victory margin for the entry in the next round.
New Zealand beat Ukraine 73-61 and avoided elimination. Though Ukraine is still the second placed team in the group with two victories in four games, their last match is against USA on Thursday. They need to limit the damage in that game so that they get a more favorable opponent at the knock-out stage. In a match between two teams, who are nearly eliminated, Iran beat Egypt 88-73. While Egypt is already out of the tournament, Iranians are stuck with a huge 57 point deficit and even if they beat France on Thursday that may not be enough.
Hosts Spain beat France 88-64 backed by 17 points and 6 rebounds from Marc Gasol; 15 points from Pau Gasol; 14 from Juan Carlos Navarro,; 10 points from Serge Ibaka and 10 from Sergio Llul. For France, Nicolas Batum scored 11 points and Evan Fournier chipped in with 9. Unluckily for France, they missed 20 chances of 3-pointers out of 25 and could only force 8 turnovers from Spain. Brazil had a great fourth-quarter run in their match against Serbia, whom they finally defeated 81-73. Marquinhos Viera led the scoring with 21; Leandro Barbosa scored 16. Other contributors were; Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter. For Serbia, Milos Teodosic scored 14 points.
In group B Puerto Rico kept itself afloat by defeating the Philippines 77-73, helped by 30 points scored by JJ Barea. For the Filipinos, Andray Blatche excelled with 25 points and 14 rebounds but unfortunately his team can’t get a win. Puerto Rico went 11-of-26 from three in the win. Other night’s heroes, Senegalese suffered a huge 81-46 loss against Argentina. The difference allowed an outside chance to Puerto Rico for the next stage. Greece beat Croatia 76-65 and entered the round of 16. But the Croats have a problem with two defeats already. On Thursday, Croatia must beat Puerto Rico or at least guard against a huge loss to be able to march into the round of 16.
In Group D, Australia beat Mexico 70-62 and booked their place for the next stage. To a large extent, Australia were helped by outplaying the Mexicans 26-13 in the third quarter and a super display by Aron Baynes, who scored 21 points. Australia’s Joe Ingles and Dante Exum remained scoreless while Mexico’s Gustavo Ayon scored 11 points and 9 rebounds for his team and Jorge Gutierrez added another 10. In two other Group D matches on Wednesday, Lithuania beat Korea 79-49 and Group topper Slovenia defeated Angola 93-87 led by 14 points from Goran Dragic;