Germany send favourites Team USA crashing out of Basketball World Cup

Europeans go one better after pushing Americans close in Abu Dhabi warm-up

Germany's Franz Wagner, left, and Isaac Bonga celebrate after defeating Team USA. Reuters
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Germany shocked the fancied United States 113-111 in a high-octane knockout match on Friday to arrange a FIBA Basketball World Cup championship game against fellow European powerhouse Serbia.

Guard Andreas Obst carried Germany, who have four NBA players in their roster, with 24 points and six assists, including a clutch 3-pointer. Franz Wagner added 22 points while power forward Daniel Theis, who plays for the Indiana Pacers, contributed 21 points.

Obst's step back 3-pointer and Schroder's jump shot gave the Germans a comfortable six point lead with 40 ticks to go, despite a fightback by Team USA.

The result saw the Germans finally get their reward, having pushed Team USA to their limit in a 99-91 warm-up defeat in Abu Dhabi last month.

Underdogs Germany took advantage of the Americans' usual slow start to take a 25-15 lead off a Dennis Scroder 3-pointer with 4:30 minutes to go in the first quarter.

Team USA, composed of NBA players, recovered and engaged in a tit-for-tat with the Germans to take a slim 60-59 lead at the break. It was the highest-scoring first half in a FIBA World Cup semi-final.

Germany controlled the third quarter, taking the lead to end the quarter at 94-84 via Schroder's pullup 2-pointer. Wagner's layup with nine minutes to go padded the advantage to as much as 12 points.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards led the United States with 23 points.

Team USA, ranked second by FIBA, will face Canada for third place on Sunday.

In an earlier game, Serbia defeated Canada 95-86 by imposing their will in the paint and controlling the boards.

Five Serbian players scored in double-digits, led by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic with 23 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Serbia lost to the United States 129-92 in the final of the tournament's 2014 edition in Madrid, Spain. The Balkan nation lost in the quarter-finals of the 2019 tournament in China.

The Balkan nation's stifling defence forced Canada into turnovers, and limited their North American counterparts to 15 points in the first quarter. Serbia entered the break with a 52-39 advantage and never let go of the lead.

"We knew we had to set the tempo before the game because if you follow their rhythm, it's impossible to guard them," Serbian centre Nikola Milutinov, who scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, told reporters. "We had to make the first punch."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada's leading scorer, passer, and rebounder, was held scoreless in the first 15 minutes amid tight coverage and foul trouble. He finished the game with 15 points, two rebounds, and nine assists, far below his tournament average of 25 points per game.

The 19th edition of FIBA's quadrennial flagship event will end with the crowning of a new champion on Sunday. Defending champions Spain were eliminated in the preliminary games.

Updated: September 08, 2023, 5:57 PM