With the knockout round virtually in sight, a few teams wrapped up their passage to the next stage of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and sadly, some teams had their voyage home confirmed. There have been no real shocks about who is through and who is going home yet, so the basketball betting action is yet to warm up, but the final day of the group stages provide the potential for one or two shocks.
Group A – Granada
The Gasol boys were on fire for the host nation with Marc grabbing 17 points while Pay picked up 15. Serge Ibaka provided 8 rebounds and the 88-64 win over France ensures the host nation have qualified in style from Group A. France are currently sitting in third position but could still miss out on a knockout round place if the slip up on the final day.
This is due to the fact that Iran notched an 88-73 win over Egypt, with Hamed Haddadi scoring 23 points and delivering 15 rebounds for his team. This result ensured that Egypt were eliminated while Iran going into the last game knowing that they can progress if they get a win.
Brazil left it late but a strong fourth quarter performance handed them an 81-73 win over Serbia. Tiago Splitter grabbed 10 points, six assists and seven rebounds but it was Marcus Vieira who was the top scorer, with 21 points. Both of these teams have booked their passage to the next round.
On Thursday the 4th of September, the games are:
- Brazil v Egypt
- Iran v France
- Serbia v Spain
The key game is Iran v France, with France knowing a win secures their place in the knockout round. They should be more than good enough to handle their opponents but this is exactly what final day group games are all about.
Group B – Seville
Puerto Rico ensured that Philippines remain winless in Spain so far, but it was a close game. The final score of 77 to 73 indicates the tight nature of the game but Jose Barea managed to grab 30 points while Andray Blatche served up 25 points for the losing side. Blatche also managed to deliver 14 rebounds, and he has been one of the most notable players in the tournament, even if the Philippines haven’t managed to make their mark on the group.
This was an easy win for Argentina and once again, Luis Scola was the man on the mark with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Senegal once again had Gorgui Dieng pulling the strings, serving up 11 points, but the South American team were cruising to victory long before the end, eventually coming in at 81-46.
Croatia had the top scoring player in the game, Bojan Bogdanovic with 20 points, but this wasn’t enough to stop Greece who won 76-65. This was the fourth win of the tournament for the Greek side and their second quarter performance was the backbone for their triumph.
Croatia and Puerto Rico are the only teams fighting to book a place in the knockout round on the final day of the group, which makes their game the most intriguing one of the day in Seville.
On Thursday the 4th of September, the games are:
- Senegal v Philippines
- Croatia v Puerto Rico
- Argentina v Greece
Group C – Barakaldo
Team USA went 4-0 in the tournament against the Dominican Republic but it took them a while to get going. The final score of 106-71 doesn’t tell the full story of a difficult first quarter, which saw the Americans hold a slim lead. A third and fourth quarter stretch put the tournament favourites on easy street and ensure they kept their winning streak going. Kenneth Faired was the main man for the USA, serving up 16 points.
New Zealand grabbed a great deal of attention by defeating Ukraine by a score of 73-61. Kirk Penney notched 17 points and seven rebounds while Everard Bartlett scored four of his five three pointers. The other game in the group was a tight affair with Turkey eventually running out 77-73 OT winners over Finland. The Turks were trailing by 14 points at half-time but a strong showing in the second half, led by Omer Asik with 22 points, ensured that the Turkish side got back to winning ways.
On Thursday the 4th of September, with only the USA qualified, the games are:
- Finland v New Zealand
- Ukraine v United States
- Turkey v Dominican Republic
Group D – Las Palmas
Aron Baynes delivered 21 points as Australia clinched their third win in a row, as they defeated Mexico by a score of 70-62. The third quarter was the big turning point of the game, Australia taking control of the game during this period. Angola were unable to continue their winning run against Slovenia, with Slovenia triumphing 93-87 in a tight game. The 17 points of Domen Lorbek made the difference, even if Roberto Fortes of Angola grabbed 21 points for his side.
Lithuania delivered a routine victory over South Korea, with a score of 79-49. The top player in the game for points was Adas Juskevicius, who notched 20 points to see Lithuania take a 3-1 record after four games in the group.
On Thursday the 4th of September, with one qualifying spot left in the group, the games are:
- Australia v Angola
- South Korea v Mexico
- Lithuania v Slovenia
The Lithuania versus Slovenia match is a dead rubber with both teams qualified (although group placing is important), so the other games may be the exciting ones to watch.
Teams qualified for the knockout round at the end of Day 5:
- From Group A: Spain and Brazil.
- From Group B: Greece, Senegal and Argentina.
- From Group C: USA.
- From Group D: Slovenia, Lithuania and Australia.
Teams already eliminated at the end of Day 5:
- From Group A: Egypt.
- From Group B: Philippines.
- From Group C: No-one.
- From Group D: No-one.
This means that only 11 of the 24 teams involved in the group stages of the FIBA World Cup have their group stage fate decided before the final day, so there is going to be a nervous day for players, coaches and fans of 13 nations!