DONGGUAN/SHANGHAI, China – France qualified on Wednesday for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup semifinals having prevailed over the two-time defending-champion United States 89-79 at the Dongguan Basketball Center.
It is the second World Cup semis appearance for France in its history, having clinched the bronze medal in the previous edition hosted by Spain in 2014.
A great performance from Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert was essential in the French success with the former scoring 22 points and the latter clinching a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds.
France overwhelmed the rebound stats during the game, neutralizing USA’s direct play and maintaining the lead on the scoreboard for most of the match.
On the other side, Donovan Mitchell’s 29 points helped the US team hold on but the Frenchmen succeeded by keeping their cool during the thrilling final quarter.
Both sides, US and France, ended the first quarter tied at 18-18, but France went to the break with a six-point lead (45-39).
The US team rebounded in the third quarter to end it with a three-point advantage (66-63), however, it was France who emerged victorious at the end of the match (89-79).
Next up in the semis, the French side will compete for its first-ever FIBA World Cup final ticket against an Argentina team that got past Serbia on Tuesday (97-87).
The American squad, who is the most successful team in the tournament with five titles, will face off against Serbia trying for a fifth to eighth spot finish.
This defeat ended USA’s winning streak of 58 matches, as the team’s last loss was to Greece in the 2006 World Cup semifinal.
In other World Cup quarterfinal contests Wednesday, Australia won to give the team from the land down under its first World Cup semis appearance, after defeating the Czech Republic 82-70 at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
The first quarter ended with 17-17 tie between the two teams, while Australia had a three-point advantage at the break (33-30).
The Aussies maintained their dominance in the third quarter, finishing it with a 15-point gap (63-48).
The Czech tries for a comeback were not successful, as Australia managed to take the game with an 82-70 win.
Australia is set to face Spain in the other semis encounter, while the Czech Republic will play Poland to be part of the fifth-to-eighth placement classification.
Spain beat Poland 90-78 on Tuesday, extending its unbeaten streak at the World Cup to six matches.
Based on the results of the quarters, Spain secured its qualification for the upcoming Summer Olympics, Tokyo 2020, along with France, being the two European teams who have achieved the best results at the FIBA World Cup, China 2019.
Meanwhile, Argentina and the United States also booked their places to Tokyo 2020 as the best American teams at the World Cup.
In addition, Nigeria, Iran and Australia have secured their Olympic places being the best teams of Africa, Asia and Oceania, respectively.