Boomers wary of World Cup grind as draw revealed

April 30, 2023 07:07 AM AEST | By AAPNEWS
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The Boomers will be based on the island of Okinawa after landing in a charmed basketball World Cup group against Finland, Germany and co-hosts Japan.

The draw for the tournament, which begins on August 25, was made in the Philippines on Saturday night.

Australia's campaign will begin on the opening day against Finland, followed by Germany on August 27 and Japan on August 29.

Olympic bronze medallists and world No.3 Australia are targeting a first World Cup medal at the 32-team tournament, which is jointly being held on the tiny Japanese island of Okinawa, Jakarta in Indonesia and Manila in the Philippines.

Should Australia finish first or second, their next phase will match them against the top-two finishers in the other Okinawa pool, which features Slovenia, Georgia, Venezuela and Cape Verde.

Winners then move onto September's finals stage in Manila.

Germany are ranked 11th in the world, 24th-ranked Finland will play just their second World Cup while Japan are rated 36th.

Australia coach Brian Goorjian is wary as he moves closer to settling on a squad likely to feature a swag of NBA talent, including emerging star Josh Giddey as well as veterans Patty Mills and Joe Ingles.

"I'm really excited. It becomes more real now that we know where we're playing and who we're playing," Goorjian said.

"Japan in Japan is going to be tough, we played Germany and it was line ball at the Olympic qualifications, Finland has played everyone tough over there and qualified, so there's a respect for these teams.

"I find this tournament really challenging because it's game after game, and a lot of the teams that could beat anybody don't qualify for the Olympics, so they're all there and it's a real challenge."

Australia were cruising towards a breakthrough medal at China's World Cup four years ago before crumbling in a semi-final, double-overtime loss to Spain.

They then coughed up a healthy lead over France in the bronze-medal game to finish fourth and ensure the wait for international silverware stretched on to Tokyo's 2021 Olympic Games.

Australia is set to boast a strong squads thanks to the emergence of NBA talents Giddey, Dyson Daniels and Josh Green.

Jock Landale has also established himself at the highest level with Phoenix, while Tokyo Olympics standout Matisse Thybulle found a new home and more minutes with Portland.

Dante Exum should be fit after escaping serious injury when the Partizan Belgrade star was brutally slammed to the floor in his side's EuroLeague quarter-final against Real Madrid last week.

New Zealand were not so lucky, drawn to face the United States, Jordan and Giannis Antetokounmpo's Greece in a blockbuster Manila pool.

Luka Doncic's Slovenia, who the Boomers beat for bronze in Tokyo, headline the other Okinawa group, while defending champions Spain have Brazil in their pool.

France, likely to feature NBA draft sensation Victor Wembanyama, and Canada will clash in Jakarta in a likely battle for top spot in their pool.


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