Argentina shocks Serbia, Spain knocks off Poland

Ruben Hill
Сентября 11, 2019

Serbia's coach said that his strongly fancied team collapsed under the weight of expectation as they were stunned by Argentina in the Basketball World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The Argentines will lock horns with either holders United States or France, who meet in Wednesday's opening quarter-final, while the Spaniards will take on the winners of the Australia v Czech Republic clash.

"It means a lot", Scola said.

Serbia coach Aleksandar Djordjevic, who won the 1998 World Cup with the former Yugoslavia as a player, heaped praise on the Argentines and conceded that Serbia's billing as one of the tournament favourites had been counterproductive. "We knew we could play like (we did) tonight", Campazzo said.

"It just bothers me that people keep talking about a miracle, keep talking about a surprise, keep talking about nobody believes it", said the veteran.

"We became favorites just like that, everybody was writing - not only in our papers but everywhere around the world - that we are the team, we are the ones, we will win", he added.

Despite having NBA MVP candidate Nikola Jokic on the team, the Kings own Bogdan Bogdanovic was the undisputed leader for Serbia throughout the World Cup.

But that's when Scola stepped up, scoring eight rapid-fire points in a 21-6 Argentina run that dropped the curtain on Serbia's World Cup.

"We believed it. It wasn't impossible".

Patricio Garino added 15 for Argentina.

As his salt-and-pepper hair shows, Scola is by far the oldest player in the relatively young Argentina squad.

"It was euphoria in our country - everybody followed us, everybody gave us a hand, everybody was eager to see us play in this tournament", he said.

The outcome was a bitter disappointment for the Serbians, who are packed with National Basketball Association talent and had title hopes after demolishing their opponents in the group phases by a average 40.8 points per game. Despite Serbia's stars all being in double digits, it wasn't enough with Argentina shooting 54 percent from the field and knocking down a tournament team high of 12 3-pointers.

"We should have played better defence and more concentrated".

Spain, who brushed Serbia aside 81-69 in their final second group stage match, were made to work hard by a battling Polish side but their deep roster made the difference. "The best thing we can do now is to fight to at least be the fifth". Serbia shot 23-of-28 from the free-throw line compared to just 13-of-17 for Argentina, and also out-rebounded its opponents 42 to 29. The Olympic berth Argentina claimed by being one of the top two World Cup finishers from the Americas region - the U.S.is the other - is its fifth straight and eighth overall.

But when the competition got tougher - first against Spain to close the second round and then against Argentina, the shots that fell against lesser foes stopped going in. U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said he's watching plenty of games on off days, but is letting the group led by Van Gundy handle the bulk of the scouting details. After playing every other day so far in the tournament, Argentina will have two full rest days before seeing either the U.S. or France on Friday.

Argentina: Faces U.S. -France victor on Friday at Beijing in the semifinals.

For Serbia, they will remain in Dongguan for a matchup Thursday at 7 a.m.

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