Basketball World Championship: Spain World Champions, Thirteen Years after their First Coronation

Spain are the World Basketball Champions after beating Argentina

Spain crushed Argentina in the final of the Basketball World Championship on Sunday (September 15th) in Beijing. A second world title, 13 years after the first.

The Spaniards became world basketball champions for the second time, thirteen years after their first title, sweeping the Argentineans, surprise guests of the final, 95 to 75, Sunday in Beijing.

This title confirms Spain as the second nation in the world, in the particular context of basketball where the United States have always been unbeatable when they sent the best players in the NBA. This was not the case this year and they failed in the quarterfinals against France.

In addition to its two world titles, the Iberian team has won three European gold medals (2009, 2011, 2015) and three Olympic medals, including two silver medals. Their only major failure for more than ten years dates from the previous World Cup in 2014, paradoxically in front of their public, when they had lost in quarters.

It was in the same sports palace of Wukesong that the Spaniards had long resisted Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, among other stars, in the final of the 2008 Olympics (118-107), in a match considered as the most beautiful in the world. history of Fiba basketball.

Read also: Basketball World Championship: France win the bronze medal

A final without suspense

Three of the players in this event were still there on Sunday, the leader Ricky Rubio (17 years old at the time), winger Rudy Fernandez and pivot Marc Gasol, the latter two have also been world champions in 2006 in Tokyo. But the final of the World Cup was not at all the same intensity.

Unbeaten in eight games, the Spaniards quickly relaxed (+9 after a quarter-time, +12 at the break) by unwinding their collective game, as shown by the sharing of the mark in the end meeting: Rubio, elected MVP of the tournament, was the best scorer with 20 points, but five other players added more than 11 points each, including the other leader Sergio Llull (15).

Never worried, they sailed with a lead of about twenty points during the third quarter and always kept a margin of at least twelve lengths in the last act. Coach Sergio Scariolo (an Italian) even had the luxury of finishing the match with the players he had used the least during the tournament.

Spaniard Marc Gasol (d) in the fight with Argentina's Luis Scola in the final of the World Basketball Championship on September 15, 2019 in Beijing.
Spaniard Marc Gasol (d) in the fight with Argentina’s Luis Scola in the final of the World Basketball Championship on September 15, 2019 in Beijing. (© AFP / WANG ZHAO)

The fabulous double Marc Gasol

Euphoric for a week, the Argentineans are hard down on earth, victims of the syndrome of the first final. Only their pivot Luis Scola (39) had the experience of this kind of match with the great generation of Manu Ginobili, Olympic champion in 2004 and already vice-world champion in 2002, but he scored only 8 points. Only the young Gabriel Deck has floated (24 points).

Somewhat paralyzed by the stakes, they have never been able to deploy the defensive activity that had disrupted the Serbs in the quarter-finals, then the French in half.

In terms of reservoir too, Spain comes second after the United States. She won her second world title in the absence of several major players: Pau Gasol (39), injured foot, but also Sergio Rodriguez, Nikola Mirotic and Serge Ibaka, who made the impasse.

With this title, the pivot Marc Gasol, 34, 14 points in the final, managed a fabulous double after winning the ring of NBA champions with the Toronto Raptors three months ago. Only one player had already signed such feat, Lamar Odom, with the Los Angeles Lakers and the United States in 2010.

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