Germany, Serbia reach Basketball World Cup final
September 8, 2023 10:46 PM
Germany and Serbia set up a Basketball World Cup final showdown on Friday, as the United States and Canada both crashed out in the semi-finals.
The US were looking to atone for their seventh-place finish at the tournament in China four years ago but they lost 113-111 after facing an inspired German team in Manila.
The Germans went toe-to-toe with their more celebrated opponents and will now play in their first-ever World Cup final on Sunday.
Head coach Gordon Herbert hailed his "special group" of players but said they were "not where we want to be yet".
"This group of players wants to win gold," he said.
"One more to go. We'll let the players enjoy this tonight and tomorrow morning when we wake up, this is over."
Andreas Obst, who was a constant thorn in the Americans' side, finished as Germany's top scorer with 24 points.
Franz Wagner with 22 points and Daniel Theis with 21 also made huge contributions.
Things started to go wrong for the US in the third quarter when Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson both made simple mistakes to hand Germany a six-point lead.
Germany built on the advantage and Dennis Schroder nailed a shot to put his team 10 points ahead at the end of the third quarter.
US head coach Steve Kerr said his team "weren't able to make them feel us defensively".
"I thought we made some mistakes," he said.
"It sounds crazy but the first offensive rebound of the game we got boxed out. Right from the beginning you've got to set a tone."
Anthony Edwards finished as the United States' top scorer with 23 points, followed by Austin Reaves with 21 and Mikal Bridges with 17.
"Any time you lose, it sucks," said Reaves.
"As a competitor, losing is the worst thing that can possibly happen."
It was the United States' second defeat of the tournament, having lost to Lithuania in the second round.
Germany are still unbeaten and centre Johannes Voigtmann said they had a "chance to do something historic" in Sunday's final.
"We're going to do everything from tomorrow on to prepare mentally for this game, because this is the most important one we have to win," he said.
- Serbia sink Canada -
Serbia will be waiting for them after beating Canada 95-86 in the day's first semi-final.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had another standout performance for the Serbians, scoring 23 points and racking up three assists and four rebounds.
Serbia lost in their only previous final appearance as an independent country in 2014, and shooting guard Marko Guduric said they were ready to play "the biggest game of our lives" against Germany.
"To represent our country and this jersey, for ourselves and our families and all the people in Serbia, it's a great honour and we cannot wait for the final game," he said.
Serbia seized control of the game in the first half against a Canada team playing in their first World Cup semi-final.
Canadian danger man Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was unable to get into a groove and finished with only 15 points.
"For our team it was additional motivation to take him out of the game," said Serbia head coach Svetislav Pesic.
"Difficult, but I think we made this job with great success."
The Canadians had already secured a qualifying spot at the Paris Olympics after finishing as one of the two highest-placed teams from the Americas.
They still have the chance to claim their first-ever World Cup medal, and head coach Jordi Fernandez said he was "excited" about facing the US in Sunday's third-fourth-place playoff.
"None of these guys have ever been in this position and to win it would mean we fought for something, but we know that we can still be better," he said.
"We want to leave this tournament being hungry and being thirsty, and building this programme all the way to the top."