Germans are world basketball champs, USA leave without a medal

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Germany were crowned world basketball champions in Manila on Sunday, while Team USA lost their bronze-medal play-off to Canada and didn’t even get onto the podium.

In a slugfest with European rival Serbia, the Germans won their first FIBA Basketball World Cup title 83-77. It was a stark contrast to the high-scoring match for third place, which was tied at 111-all before Canada dominated in overtime to win 127-118.

Germany celebrates their first World Cup basketball win.Credit: Getty

The loss to their northern neighbour was a bitter pill for the USA, who won their first four games but stumbled late in the tournament, falling to Lithuania and Germany before the bronze-medal game and finishing with a 5-3 win-loss record.

“The United States hasn’t won the World Cup since 2014,” US coach Steve Kerr noted after the game.

“It’s hard. These teams in FIBA are really good, well-coached, they’ve got continuity, and they’ve played together for a long time. This is difficult.

“It’s hard for us to build continuity with Team USA because we naturally have so much turnover from year to year.

Canada’s Dillon Brooks drives to the basket against the USA’s Josh Hart in the bronze-medal play-off.Credit: Getty

“We put ourselves in a great position. We got to the semi-finals and were right there, but we couldn’t get enough stops. We didn’t defend well enough against Germany and Canada.”

Germany’s win in the final was set up by a 22-10 surge in the third quarter, orchestrated by brothers Franz and Moritz Wagner.

The tournament’s most valuable player, Dennis Schroder, carried Germany with a game-high 28 points, way above his average of 17.9 points per game, and added two rebounds and two assists.

“This is an unbelievable group … coach did a great job bringing us together,” Schroder said post-match. “Our defence and how we play as a basketball team is just special.”

By winning all eight tournament games, Germany became the first team since 2006 to win a FIBA World Cup crown while debuting in the final.

Serbia absorbed another heartbreak after losing to the United States 129-92 in the 2014 final, but finished better than their quarter-final exit in 2019.

The two teams were tied at 47 at halftime, but Germany opened a 12-point lead late in the third quarter and never looked back.

Marko Guduric converted two free throws, cutting Germany’s lead to two, 79-77, with 39.5 ticks to go in the final frame. But a costly turnover and missed three-pointers prevented Serbia’s comeback.

Tournament MVP Dennis Schroeder celebrates after Germany’s World Cup final win over Serbia.Credit: Getty

Serbia’s Ognjen Dobric was carried off the floor with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Their power forward, Borisa Simanic, underwent surgery in Manila to remove a kidney after taking a blow to his midsection against South Sudan in a preliminary match.

Canada’s win in the bronze-medal game came courtesy of the hot-shooting Houston Rockets recruit Dillon Brooks, who hit his tournament-high 39 points, and landed seven of eight three-pointers. It was the most points scored by a player in a medal-winning game in tournament history.

Team USA’s NBA players Paolo Banchero, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Brandon Ingram were sidelined due to illness. The team’s leading scorer, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, recorded 24 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Canada capitalised on a characteristically lethargic US start to take a 34-21 lead in the first quarter, before Team USA fought back and forced an overtime at 111 apiece.

Despite the defeat, the United States finished better than their seventh spot in 2019, their worst-ever major international tournament result. The US have won the tournament a record five times.

The two tightly-fought games on Sunday closed the 19th edition of FIBA’s flagship event, co-hosted by the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan, on a high note.

A record crowd of 38,115 watched the opening game of basketball-obsessed Philippines against the Dominican Republic on August 25 in the world’s largest indoor arena, north of the capital Manila. That beat the previous record of 32,616 who watched the US-Russia final at the 1994 World Cup in Toronto, Canada.

Qatar will host the 2027 World Cup.


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