Imperial Spain in the Middle Kingdom

In default of the ears and the tail of the Argentines, the Spaniards leave China with the trophy, and the nets of the match. WANG ZHAO / AFP

The sun sets over the Middle Kingdom, and the orange ball celebrates its new masters. Spain won Sunday, September 15, the World Cup basketball, after his victory over Argentina in Beijing (95-75). Undefeated in the competition, the teammates of the leader Ricky Rubio – 20 points in the final -, named best player of the World, offer themselves the second crown planetary of their history, after the title of 2006. After topple Australia in the last quarter-time of the small final (67-59), the team of France completes the podium of a Mondial rich in surprises.

Thirteen years after her first world title in Japan, Spain confirmed Sunday that she liked to evolve in Asia. In the absence of its historic leader, Pau Gasol, injured, Roja relied on his brother, the pivot Marc Gasol, and the leader Ricky Rubio to sign a campaign without a hitch. Going through the eye of the needle in the semifinal against Australia (victory after two extra time, while the Boomers had led the whole meeting), the men of Sergio Scariolo did not do any detail to crush an incapable Argentina to repeat in the final his performance of the two previous rounds – against Serbia and France.

Read also: Relive the coronation of Spain against Argentina

Like its women's team, crowned at the Euro in early summer, the men's Spanish basketball team is on top of the world after winning an open competition. And this victory, the first of the country without any member of its golden generation, the "Juniores de Oro" crowned world junior champions in 1999, marks the continuity of Iberian excellence. "We were not the biggest team or the most talented, but we played the most team and with the most heart", commented Ricky Rubio, aware of having "Marked history. "

The Spaniards have won the last two World Cups held in Asia (that of 1978, in the Philippines, had fallen to Yugoslavia). A good sign for La Roja, knowing that next year's Olympics will be held in Tokyo.

In a World Cup where the truth of one day was not the next day, the France team left China having fulfilled its objective: to qualify for the Olympic Games. Of course, like Evan Fournier, inconsolable on the podium and pretending to reject his bronze medal, bitterness dominates, as the Blues have fallen high against Argentina in the semifinals.

Read also: For the Blues, the harder will be the fall

But five years after his first world medal – in bronze, already -, the French team consolidates its place among the nations that count on the planet basketball. And if its potential was not in doubt, she arrived in China without landmarks, having to reinvent itself after the international retirement of the generation Parker.

From world bronze to the "little bitter taste" for the Blues in China.
From world bronze to the "little bitter taste" for the Blues in China. CHRISTMAS CELIS / AFP

"This is a promise for the future of this new group, in full construction"welcomed the French coach Vincent Collet, stressing the need to create a hard core around which to build. "Experience is an essential element in these competitions. " And the "No-match" of his men in the semifinals is a lesson to remember. "We swore it would not happen to us anymore, and especially not next year if we had the good fortune to be in the quarterfinals in Tokyo. "

They dreamed of going back covered with gold from China, the Blues will have to be content with bronze. And some new certainties, as well as the memory of being the team that prevented the United States from claiming an unprecedented world triple.

Read also: The capital feat of the Blues
  • The "disunited states" of America

"We have noted the names, and we will remember those who thought to come to war with us but did not come. " The formula is without appeal. Stated by Jerry Colangelo, the architect of the American selection, she addresses the stars of the NBA having seen fit to cancel at the last moment their participation in the World. After a transfer market that redrawn in early July the great North American League, many stars have preferred to spend the summer to prepare the season rather than come under the colors.

While some – like LeBron James or Stephen Curry – had apologized well in advance, others had assured their presence, before dodging, making the month of July look like a cascade of packages: 32 in all.

The Blues, in the quarterfinals, then the Serbs, in a classification match, were responsible for reminding the United States that if they are the country where basketball is born, this sport is now global, and the gap between the nations are diminishing.

Kemba Walker, one of the rare NBA stars present in China, could not prevent the defeat of his.
Kemba Walker, one of the rare NBA stars present in China, could not prevent the defeat of his. YE AUNG THU / AFP

If they did not, like some of their predecessors, approach the competition over the leg, the men of Gregg Popovich were forced to surrender for the first time since the World Cup 2006. Two years later, a «Redeem team» made up of the biggest stars of the NBA came to restore the American crest to the Olympic Games. Bis repetita next year in Tokyo?

  • The question of "windows" pending

The World Cup in China, as a whole, went off to a good start – if not the long travels, vastness of the country requires. But the question of qualifications at the World Cup has not been settled. Due to a struggle of influence between the FIBA ​​(International Basketball Federation) and the Euroleague, the new qualification system – the windows – set up for this competition took place without the best players of the world (evolving in NBA and Euroleague).

Read also Basketball World Cup: unequal rebounds in qualifying

At the end of the competition, the various actors have said they are ready to "Sit around a table" to try to iron out the differences. But the road is long before arriving at a system satisfying everyone, as the orange ball is disputed between its different structures.

Eleven years after having offered one of the best international matches in history, the Beijing Olympics Olympic final between the United States and Spain, China sees the world basketball caravan leaving its lands. And if the craze of the local public has not wavered throughout the competition, the country saw its national team completely miss the meeting, failing to pass the first round, and missed the Olympic qualification.

Read also: How basketball conquered China


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