Basketball World Cup enters knockout phase
Posted on Sep 05 2014 | IANS
Madrid, Sep 5 : The final day of group games in the FIBA Basketball World Cup finally decided which 16 sides qualified for the knockout stages, but also decided the draws for the last 16.
Hosts Spain ended Group A with a 100 percent record after defeating Serbia 89-73 in a game that had its moments of tension between two competitive sides Thursday, reports Xinhua.
The Spanish finished ahead of Brazil, who enjoyed themselves by beating minnows Egypt 128-65, the biggest margin of defeat in the tournament to date.
Iran join Egypt as the first to go home, but not before they gave an almighty fright to the French as they took a 23-13 lead that would have seen them qualify at France's expense had they maintained that advantage.
However, France woke up from their lethargy and were in front by the end of the second period before finally winning 81-76 and will now play Croatia for a place in the quarterfinals.
Group B ended with Greece, who came into the tournament on a wildcard, keeping a 100 percent winning record, as leaders after they defeated Argentina 79-71 by withstanding a typical Argentine fightback in the last quarter.
Argentina scored 10 consecutive points to cut deficit within two points before the Greeks pulled clear once again.
The Greek's reward for their win was a tricky tie against the Serbs for a place in the quarterfinals, while Argentina will now have to face traditional rivals Brazil in the next round.
The Philippines are out of the tournament despite beating Senegal 81-79.
Senegal knew a win would seal their place in the last 16 but were left waiting to see whether Croatia would beat Puerto Rico or not to know if they would qualify.
Croatia duly complied with an easy 103-82 win over Puerto Rico, who bowed out of the tournament, but Senegal must now face hosts, Spain in the last 16.
In Group C, the US found themselves 20-24 down to an under-pressure Ukraine, before reacting in the second quarter and steadily pulling away before finally winning with a convincing 95-71 scoreline.
Ukraine's defeat sees them the shock losers in the group, while the Dominican Republic qualify in third place.
Turkey will play Australia, while the Dominican Republic have a tough game against Slovenia.
Finland are going home after losing 65-67 to New Zealand.
Meanwhile, New Zealand qualify in fourth place and will play Lithuania in the next round.
Group D began with Slovenia and Australia both qualifying for the last 16, although the Aussies were poor, crashing to a 83-91 defeat to Angola.
However, Angola's joy was shortlived as Mexico's 87-71 win over South Korea saw them leapfrog above African team and take the last qualifying place in the group.
Following is the draw for last 16:
US vs. Mexico, Spain vs. Senegal, Turkey vs. Australia, Lithuania vs. New Zealand, Slovenia vs. Dominican Republic, Argentina vs. Brazil, France vs. Croatia, Greece vs. Serbia.