Argentina became the first country to punch its ticket to the final four of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup as it earned a stunning 97-87 win over a presumptive favourite in Serbia on Tuesday.
A magical performance from @facucampazzo sees @cabboficial 🇦🇷 take down @kssrbije 🇷🇸 to advance to the #FIBAWC Semi-Finals! 🙌#ArgentinaGotGame- Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) September 10, 2019
➡ https://t.co/DFBd6rpuTM pic.twitter.com/GB40n10pqq
With the win, Argentina moves to 6-0 in the tournament and will face the winner of Wednesday's game between France and the United States in the final four on Friday.
39-year-old Luis Scola, who last played in the NBA in 2017, was Argentina's leading scorer with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 2-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Defensa de Scola sobre Jokic, ataque rápido y triple de Garino. Argentina vuelva a pasar al frente. pic.twitter.com/NQ3k7N6Xef- CABB (@cabboficial) September 10, 2019
Guard Facundo Campazzo was masterful for Argentina, earning player of the game honours with 18 points (on 7-12 shooting), 12 assists and six rebounds in under 30 minutes of action.
As a team, Argentina finished the game shooting 36-for-67 (53.7%) from the field and 12-for-27 (44.4%) from beyond the arc while holding Serbia to 41.8% shooting from the field and 28.6% shooting from deep.
After dominating its first four games of the tournament, Serbia was widely viewed as the biggest threat to dethrone Team USA. A loss to Spain in Round 2 moved Serbia to Argentina's side of the bracket but many felt that the nation's NBA talent would be too much to overcome.
Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a game-high 21 points (on 6-13 shooting) and Nuggets do-it-all centre Nikola Jokic stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists but committed five turnovers in the process. Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica scored 18 points in the game but the efficiency wasn't quite there as he went 5-for-17 (29.4%) from the field in 31 minutes of action.
Now, after being viewed as one of the favourites to win the tournament, Serbia cannot medal but can finish as high as fifth place in the World Cup.
As for Argentina, it now has an opportunity to medal at the World Cup for the first time since 2002, when it won silver in Indianapolis; Scola was a member of that team as well. A win Friday against either France or the United States would secure yet another top-two finish.
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