FIBA World Cup 2014 - France Stun Hosts Spain, Serbia Awaits in Semi-Final -

FIBA World Cup 2014 – France Stun Hosts Spain, Serbia Awaits in Semi-Final

Tournament hosts Spain were knocked out of the FIBA World Cup on Wednesday after France sprang a surprise with a 65-52 victory to book a semi-final showdown with Serbia.

Spain were expected finalists alongside USA but the highly-anticipated clash can be no more as Juan Orenga’s side fell at the hands of their European rivals once again to the chorus of boos directed at the Head Coach. Earlier, Serbia crushed Brazil to end the run of the South Americans to advance their first major semi-final in five years.

All four teams in action on Wednesday competed in Group A but the top two teams fail to progress and exit earlier than expected.

Here’s a re-cap of the final two quarter-finals:

Serbia 84-56 Brazil

Serbia reached the final four with a crushing win against Brazil after storming clear in the third quarter. Milos Teodosic top scored with 23 points including a perfect 10/10 from the FT line with three other players in double figures while Nemanja Bjelic added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

The third quarter proved particularly fatal to Brazil as they saw any hopes of a fightback washed away after being outscored 29-12. Serbia edged the opening two quarters to lead 37-32 at half-time before powering on in the second half using a 12-4 to press home their advantage before effectively putting the game beyond doubt with a 13-4 run on this occasion as they led 66-44 after three quarters.

There was no way back for the South American side and they fell to a 28-point defeat undoing their hard work in the tournament which included a morale-boosting victory over Argentina. Anderson Varejao and Marcus Vieira were the only players on their side in double figures as they finished with 12 points apiece.

France 65-52 Spain

Not many expected Spain to fall before the final but just as they did on route to EuroBasket gold last summer, France believed as a unit and pulled off a stunning result. Without star names in Tony Parker and Joakim Noah, Boris Diaw led his side to victory with a team-high 15 points. Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert earned deserved praise for his resilient performance especially on the defensive end, epitomising the French belief, collecting 13 valuable rebounds as France dominated that department 50-28.

Spain struggled to penetrate their opponents on the offensive end and finished with a low shooting percentage of 32 with NBA big-men Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka combining for just 5 points while Pau Gasol led all scorers with 17, in what could well be his final appearance for the national side.

France led by 7 at half-time before the hosts battled back in the third to lead by one heading into the fourth to set up a tense finish. Diaw made a 3-pointer at the start of the fourth as France took the lead and Spain endured a near 3-minute drought before Pau Gasol’s basket cut the deficit to 51-47.

The gap was down to 3 with two minutes remaining before Thomas Huertel came up clutch down the stretch. The Laboral Kutxa guard scored all of his side’s points in a decisive 7-0 run to seal the game before France were able to wrap up the victory from the foul line. Spain had won with ease when the two teams met earlier in the competition but France were able to repeat their semi-final win over their rivals last year to reach the final four.

The semi-finals have been set. USA take on Lithuania in a repeat of four years ago while European powerhouses France and Serbia clash in the second of the last four clashes.

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