Ricky Rubio played a starring role as Spain regained the FIBA World Cup by defeating Argentina 95-75 in the final in Beijing on Sunday.

Phoenix Suns guard Rubio was named MVP after he combined 20 points with seven rebounds and three assists to lead Spain to the title for the first time since 2006.

Sergio Llull added 15 off the bench for Sergio Scariolo's side, while NBA champion Marc Gasol had 14 points with seven rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals.

Spain's success owed a lot to a stoic defensive display, with Argentina forward Luis Scola kept scoreless in the first half of the showpiece.

Scola and Facundo Campazzo combined for three-of-21 shooting from the field, with Gabriel Deck's haul of 24 points insufficient to inspire Argentina to a late comeback.

Spain started the first quarter with a 14-2 run and then began the second half by going 12-2 to open up a comfortable advantage they never looked like surrendering.

France took third place for the second successive World Cup after coming from 15 points down in the second half to defeat Australia 67-59.

Argentina, looking to win their first FIBA World Cup since the inaugural edition in 1950, will contest the final on Sunday against a Spain side that needed double overtime to progress from the last four. 

Spain advanced to the title game with a pulsating 95-88 victory over Australia, erasing a double-digit deficit in regulation to hand the stunned Boomers their first loss of the tournament.

Marc Gasol fuelled Spain's win in the first World Cup elimination game to go to double overtime by scoring 33 points with six rebounds and four assists. Ricky Rubio added 19 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds as Spain outlasted a Patty Mills-inspired Australia.

Mills poured in 32 points and Nic Kay came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 11 rebounds for the Boomers.

Gasol, who won an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors in June, has a chance become only the second person to add a World Cup crown to an NBA championship in the same year.

Lamar Odom did the double in 2010 with United States and the Los Angeles Lakers. After the Lakers bested the Boston Celtics in seven games that year, Odom stood atop the podium three months later in Istanbul with his USA team-mates hoisting the Naismith Trophy.

"I just cherish every moment for what it is. I don't try to double up. I want to give the maximum for every occasion. It is two completely different situations. I'm going to give my best to win a World Cup for Spain," Gasol told FIBA basketball.

Argentina, having stunned Serbia in the quarter-finals, continued their incredible run in China with an 80-66 victory against France in Friday's other semi-final, with seemingly ageless Luis Scola, 39, and Facundo Campazzo leading the way. Argentina last played in the final in 2002, coming up short against Yugoslavia.

"They were just the better team tonight," France's Rudy Gobert said. "From the first to the last minute, they were more aggressive and played more as a team... It was complete domination."

Spain have a chance to join the United States, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Brazil as only the fifth country to win multiple FIBA World Cup trophies.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists he is not worried about Angel Correa's state of mind after his failed move to AC Milan.

Correa, 24, was strongly linked with a move away from Atletico in the transfer window and was understood to have been a primary target of Milan.

The Argentina international, who has struggled to build on his early promise, looked to have fallen further down the pecking order in attack over the pre-season, with Joao Felix arriving, Alvaro Morata already on the books and Vitolo producing some eye-catching displays.

Milan were reported to have offered him a route out and a key role in a new era at the club, but they and Atletico failed to reach an agreement for the player who is said to have been valued at €50million.

He is yet to play for Atletico this season, but Simeone is adamant Correa has a place in the squad and can be important.

"I have seen him train in the best way, with the best predisposition and prepared for what the team needs, be it on the wing or as a forward," Simeone told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Real Sociedad.

"That has not changed because of what happened. Now that he has returned, he has had these 10 days.

"He is an important player. He gives us a directness and change of pace in attack that not many have. We will use him where he feels most comfortable."

Friday is the 32nd anniversary of Simeone's professional debut with Velez Sarsfield and the former Argentina international paid tribute to his coaches for developing him into the tactician he is today.

"I debuted 32 years ago when I was just 17 years old," he said. "It was a beautiful stage in my career.

"I remember working with some really great coaches. They made me a better person and they helped pave my way for the future to give me that possibility to become a coach.

"That allowed me to be immersed in my big passion, which is football, and the truth is I feel very happy about that.

"To have that moment, it's clear there were many happy and sad moments, just like life itself."

Tata Martino will not feel too low after his first defeat as Mexico head coach, believing neither the big defeat to Argentina nor their long unbeaten run showed their true state.

Former Barcelona boss Martino was appointed El Tri coach in January and enjoyed a sensational start to his new role, beating Chile in a March friendly and then winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

But an 11-match unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday as Argentina, Martino's former team and the last side to have beaten Mexico before their streak, ran out 4-0 winners in San Antonio.

Lautaro Martinez scored a hat-trick before being substituted at half-time, with all four goals coming in the first 45 minutes.

Martino explained: "I do not think this is our reality - nor do I believe that having 11 games without losing is our reality.

"Of the 'A' class [of team], this is the second game we played - the first was against Chile and the substantial difference is that tonight we made mistakes.

"Argentina could hurt us because there were 15 minutes where we played well and then the breakdown starts from an error.

"To learn from this, we need to play more major games of this stature. We must look to try to compete with the best in order to be able to take that leap we want to take."

LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos offered a similar assessment, frustrated by Argentina's ability to punish Mexico, who dominated possession but were outdone on the break.

"I think the team started well," he said. "I feel that the goals for Argentina were more our mistakes than their successes. We know that we cannot make these mistakes against these teams.

"We have to lift our heads, we are still working very well. The team is confident and I think it is a defeat that will make us learn."

Lionel Scaloni was delighted with the application of his Argentina side against Mexico, claiming they played "a perfect game" in a 4-0 victory.

Lautaro Martinez hit a first-half hat-trick as Argentina, still without Lionel Messi, ended Tata Martino's unbeaten start to life as Mexico coach in style, with Leandro Paredes also on target from the penalty spot.

Scaloni's men ceded possession to their opponents at San Antonio's Alamodome, but the coach saw his plan work to a tee and hailed the team's spirit.

"We knew the way that Mexico would play and we came out quickly to create some chances," he told a news conference. "We are happy because we played a perfect game.

"We knew that Mexico would dominate the opening minutes and that's why we were prepared to go out on the counter-attack.

"We gave the feeling that we are a team - that's the important thing. Everyone played for their lives, for their team-mates and for wanting to be in the Argentina team.

"We knew that if we recovered the ball, we would have to get it quickly to the striker.

"It's no good if we just defend well. We analysed Mexico a lot and we were courageous enough to do what we had to do in this match.

"We want an Argentina team that is competitive, where our opponents respect us."

Martinez was substituted at half-time, with Scaloni revealing the striker had been carrying a knock prior to the match, joking the Inter star appeared to play better injured.

"The change was planned, because he had some discomfort," the coach said. "Hopefully he can continue playing with discomfort."

Lautaro Martinez was "happy and excited" after scoring a hat-trick for Argentina in an impressive friendly win over Mexico on Tuesday.

Martinez struck a first-half hat-trick in Texas as Lionel Scaloni's men ended Mexico's unbeaten record under Gerardo Martino with a 4-0 victory.

Inter forward Martinez, who impressed at the Copa America earlier this year, dominated, producing three clinical finishes for his first international hat-trick.

Martinez, 22, was delighted with his performance as he moved onto nine goals for Argentina in 13 appearances.

"I am happy and excited," he said, via the team's Twitter account.

"There is a lot of sacrifice that one makes to be here and not every day three goals are made with this shirt."

While scoring three times, Martinez also helped Argentina win a penalty that was converted by Leandro Paredes in a ruthless opening 45 minutes.

The former Racing Club forward paid tribute to his team-mates after his match-winning hat-trick.

"It is very difficult to get here and stay. There are very good players," Martinez said.

"I am very happy and grateful to my team-mates and the coaching staff. We train to give joy to the national team. Hopefully we continue along this path."

Lautaro Martinez stole the show to lead Argentina to an impressive 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly in Texas on Tuesday.

Martinez scored a stunning first-half hat-trick at the Alamodome as Lionel Scaloni's men ran riot in the opening 45 minutes.

Inter forward Martinez was the star, netting three times and also helping Argentina – without the suspended Lionel Messi – win a penalty that was converted by Leandro Paredes.

Martinez came off at the break after putting Argentina in complete control as they saw out a comprehensive victory.

It was quite the way for Mexico to be handed their first defeat under head coach Gerardo Martino, who took over in January.

Mexico could have been awarded an early penalty for a handball, but instead fell behind in the 17th minute.

Martinez received a pass from Paredes 30 yards from goal, running at the Mexico defence and beating three markers before placing a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Just five minutes later and Martinez doubled his, and Argentina's, tally.

Exequiel Palacios put in a beautiful throughball for Martinez's well-timed run, the forward producing a first-time finish into the bottom corner.

Argentina's incredible start continued when they were awarded a penalty for a Carlos Salcedo handball, the ball hitting the defender's outstretched arm after a Martinez flick.

Paredes stepped up and while Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa got a hand on the spot-kick, it found the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

Martinez had Mexico panicking and it showed as he remarkably completed a first-half hat-trick.

The 22-year-old's first touch after a Palacios pass let him down but Nestor Araujo was unable to deal with the loose ball, Martinez claiming possession again before firing past Ochoa.

Martinez came off at half-time and Argentina almost struck again six minutes into the second half, Ochoa saving a strike from Rodrigo De Paul.

Substitutions impacted the rhythm of the contest, although Argentina were never in trouble after Martine's first-half heroics.

 

What does it mean? Scaloni's Argentina produce one of their best

Scaloni has faced plenty of criticism since taking the helm, but Tuesday's first half was undoubtedly one of Argentina's best since he was named coach in August last year. Martinez's performance helped, but they denied Mexico clear-cut chances and were clinical.

Martinez marvellous for Argentina

The Inter forward had Mexico's defence worried throughout and he took his chances. Palacios' wonderful pass set up Martinez's second, but it was otherwise the former Racing Club doing all the hard work to move onto nine international goals.

Martino unable to stop Mexico's Argentina woe

Under Martino, Mexico have shown they can contend with South American sides, beating Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela and Ecuador during an 11-match unbeaten streak with the former Barcelona boss in charge. But they are now winless in their past 10 meetings with Argentina, a run dating back to the 2004 Copa America.

What's next?

Argentina will take on Germany in a friendly next month, while Mexico meet Trinidad and Tobago before CONCACAF Nations League clashes with Bermuda and Panama.

Argentina ended Serbia's hopes of glory at the FIBA World Cup on Tuesday, while Spain progressed to the last four at the expense of Poland.

Facundo Campazzo starred for Argentina in their 97-87 victory in the opening quarter-final, scoring 18 points, providing 12 assists and also grabbing six rebounds.

As for 2006 champions Spain, they prevailed 90-78 against Poland in a notable outing for Ricky Rubio.

Wednesday sees the other two last-eight games, with the United States taking on France before Australia meet the Czech Republic.

 

SCOLA STARS AS SERBIA FALL SHORT

Led by Luis Scola's 20 points, Argentina put paid to Serbia's hopes of going one better than their runner-up finish in 2014. Instead, the much-fancied European nation will not even leave China with a medal.

Two-time champions Serbia trailed for much of the contest but fought hard to hold the lead early in the fourth quarter - only for their opponents to hit back in impressive fashion.

Nicolas Laprovittola and Scola both converted from the foul line after scoring on two-point plays, making the score 87-76 with a little over three minutes remaining.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (21 points) cut the gap down to 91-85 with a three-pointer, only for Campazzo to respond with a successful jump shot at the other end. The reliable Scola then hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds, allowing Argentina's fans inside the venue to start the celebrations early.

 

RUBIO REACHES RECORD

Spain shut down Poland dangerman Mateusz Ponitka - who was held to just two points in the opening half - as they eased into the final four.

Rubio had 19 points but his playmaking skills were the major story in Spain's triumph. The point guard moved past Pablo Prigioni's tally of 106 on the all-time assist list for the competition, the record-breaking moment coming when he found Juancho Hernangomez for a three-pointer in the second quarter.

A.J. Slaughter scored 19 for plucky Poland, who had surprised many in making it to the knockout rounds after qualifying ahead of Russia and Venezuela from Group I.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has praised the work of Gerardo Martino and said he expects a tough test when his side take on Mexico in Texas.

Both men started their playing careers with Argentine club Newell's Old Boys and have since made the move into management.

Martino guided Argentina to two Copa America finals before stepping down in July 2016 and is now in charge of Mexico, via a spell with Major League Soccer side Atlanta United.

Scaloni considered Martino an "idol" figure at Newell's Old Boys and still holds the 56-year-old in high regard.

"I was Martino's partner at Newell's," he told reporters ahead of Tuesday's friendly with Mexico in the United States. "He was there when I debuted. For me, he was the idol of the club and still is. 

"It was a lifelong reference and marked a time for all of us who played at the bottom and had the chance to do it.

"He has a very clear idea of ​​the game and it is very important to play against this team. I am sure it will be a very difficult team for any team. It will be difficult.

"As a coaching staff, seeing the operation of all the teams, we like some things about Mexico. We are similar in the line of play, being a leading team.

Without the suspended Lionel Messi, Argentina played out a goalless draw with Chile on Friday in their first match since beating the same opponents in the third-place play-off at the Copa America.

Scaloni has suggested he will make changes to his starting line-up against Mexico and has called on his players to keep better control of the ball.

"At one point with Chile we lost control of the game," he said. "Mexico like to keep the ball, so do we. The more control we have, the better. It takes time. It worked, we have it clearer before a complicated opponent.

"There are three players I'll wait until Tuesday [to decide on]. I don't want them to go out if they're not 100 per cent.

"If I think about getting results, the call would have been different. On the other hand, we would be left with the feeling that there are young boys who can give us a lot. 

"The results this week is secondary. They are tests to see where we stand. We will continue with the same line of play."

Diego Maradona claims his guidance on the training ground helped transform a luckless Lionel Messi into one of modern football's deadliest free-kick takers.

The legendary Maradona coached Barcelona superstar Messi during Argentina's eventful 2010 World Cup campaign.

Messi won his second Ballon d'Or that year but failed to get on the scoresheet in South Africa as the Albiceleste crashed out in the quarter-finals, losing 4-0 to Germany.

Despite Argentina's talisman not scoring at that tournament, Maradona feels that period was when the forward was at the peak of his powers.

But the new Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata boss believes a dose of his own wisdom was needed to elevate the attacker's dead-ball skills to the world-class level they have reached.

"Messi, in the World Cup I was in charge, all the goalkeepers [we played against] were the man of the match," Maradona said.

"He hit all the posts. Now he can't miss. It's a simple story.

"I had the best Messi and nobody can tell me otherwise, because he was able to skip past up to five players. A phenomenon. 

"But he had an issue with free-kicks. When we finished every training session we kept Leo behind so he could practice, and he started to hit the post. I didn't teach him how to take a free-kick. 

"Then he asked me how I was able to score."

Maradona described his advice as being simply to "hit it in the middle".

"And he replied, 'But I hit it in the middle and the ball goes this way or that way', and I told him, 'Don't worry, you're going to make it'," the former Napoli favourite added.

"Now he just can't miss."

Messi, now 32, has forged a reputation as a feared free-kick taker, his most notable effort last season a sublime strike from beyond 25 yards against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.

Maradona left his national team post after the World Cup nine years ago but has returned to his homeland to take charge of top-flight Gimnasia.

Diego Maradona promised to fight to save Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata's season during an emotional presentation to supporters after he was unveiled as head coach.

Maradona fought back the tears as he addressed the crowd at Juan Carmelo Zerillo Stadium, where the Argentina legend has been given his first job in his homeland since leaving the national team in 2010.

The 58-year-old made a bizarre claim that ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) Julio Grondona prevented him from coaching in Argentina, while promising he would work hard to turn Gimnasia's fortunes around.

Gimnasia are bottom of the Superliga and Maradona, who will be in charge until the end of the season, told the supporters who greeted him: "I did not expect all this. When I entered here, when I saw all this, I cannot believe it.

"We are going to fight it with the kids. God willing, Gimnasia is saved.

"I told the AFA that after the national team they crossed me out. In 1994 with [Sepp] Blatter, [Eduardo, former CONMEBOL secretary] De Luca and Grondona, they erased me.

"How can I explain in words the sensations I'm feeling. When I entered I began to cry because I have no words. But my old woman appeared and calmed me down.

"Obviously I wanted to coach in Argentina. There were two people, Blatter and Grondona, pestering the presidents so they wouldn't hire me."

Maradona's coaching career has included spells at Deportivo Mandiyu de Corrientes, Racing Club, Argentina, Al Wasl, Al-Fujairah and Dorados, but he claimed he had been denied opportunities to coach at club level in Argentina.

Gimnasia face Racing Club on September 15 in Maradona's first game in charge, and after his presentation he told a news conference: "I want to take tomorrow to confirm the whole coaching staff and what we are going to do during the week before the game with Racing.

"I wanted to open the door now that I am part of Argentine football, because when the others were here I was not in anyone's folder.

"There are leaders who told me 'I went to look for you after the World Cup' but they crossed you out and they caused damage.

"But this is already past, now we have to work, work and we have no other option. I told all my players."

Spain put in a dominant performance against heavy hitters Serbia to set up a clash with Poland in the quarter-finals of the FIBA World Cup.

Serbia had the best offense of the tournament heading into Sunday's encounter, but Spain held firm in Wuhan to secure an 81-69 victory and top spot in Group J.

Poland finished second behind Argentina in Group I following a 91-65 defeat to the South Americans, while Russia beat Venezuela 69-60 in the same pool.

Meanwhile, Italy ended their campaign with an impressive comeback against Puerto Rico, Tunisia came out on top by just two points against Angola and South Korea got the better of Ivory Coast.

RUBIO RUNS THE SHOW AS SPAIN STALL SERBIA

Ricky Rubio was in scintillating form as he scored 19 points and added four assists to lead Spain to victory over Serbia, who suffered their first defeat since February.

Rubio was backed up admirably by Marc Gasol and Victor Claver, as Spain earned a fifth successive win.

It was the first time Serbia failed to score 70 points or more in a World Cup match, even though Bogdan Bogdanovic grabbed 26 points in a supreme individual display.

While Spain will face Poland in the last eight, Serbia must rally for a tough test against Argentina.

NIGERIA BOOK OLYMPIC SPOT

Hosts China slipped to an 86-73 defeat in Guangzhou, as Nigeria grasped a place at the 2020 Olympics.

Josh Okogie helped himself to 19 points for Nigeria, with 11 coming in the final quarter. Jianlian Yi was the start of the show with 27 points, but his performance was not enough to secure a Chinese victory.

Nigeria's NBA forward Al-Farouq Aminu said on the FIBA website: "I remember when I joined the team in 2012 we said we did not want to miss an Olympics. It's a beautiful feeling. It's amazing."

China are in danger of missing out on direct qualification for the Olympics, with Iran going above them in the race for Tokyo thanks to their 95-75 win over Philippines.

AZZURRI FIGHT BACK TO OVERCOME PUERTO RICO

Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari inspired Italy to overcome a 26-point deficit as the Azzurri triumphed 94-89 in overtime against Puerto Rico to end a frustrating campaign on a positive note.

Italy had never previously won a World Cup match in which they trailed by 15 points or more at half-time, but Belinelli and Gallinari rallied their team-mates after a timeout taken when 59-33 behind midway through the third quarter.

Belinelli converted a game-high 27 points, while Gallinari became the first Italy player to accumulate more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a World Cup game since 1994.

"It was a very bad game for us in the beginning. We did not show up," Gallinari said. "We knew that we had to come out with a different attitude and different intensity in the second half and I think that we did a great job."

Although arguably the greatest player of all time, it's fair to say Diego Maradona isn't necessarily synonymous with coaching.

Nevertheless, El Pibe de Oro is back in the dugout having been confirmed as Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata's new head coach on Thursday, his first job in Argentina since leaving the national team in 2010.

Maradona, 58, was a remarkable talent as a player for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona and, perhaps most famously, Argentina and Napoli.

The 1986 World Cup winner is similarly infamous for his off-field antics and controversies, having suffered from drug addiction, been criticised for his political views and generally never been shy about expressing himself.

While some of his behaviour down the years may not be what one would expect of your average head coach, Maradona often takes his teams on something of a ride…

Deportivo Mandiyu de Corrientes – 1994

Having been suspended by FIFA for failing a drug test during the 1994 World Cup, Maradona quickly turned his hand to coaching, securing a role at Mandiyu de Corrientes.

He had to watch his first match from the stands due to not having passed a coaching course or owning a license, though he remained typically animated. He only presided over 11 more fixtures, winning once, or 8.3 per cent of his games in total.

Racing Club – 1995

After allegedly being sacked in the Mandiyu dressing room, Maradona was not out of work for long before he joined Racing. In Avellaneda, El Diego had significantly greater talent at his disposal, including future Argentina internationals Ignacio Gonzalez and Claudio Lopez, and during this time they beat Boca at La Bombonera for the first time in 20 years.

However, Maradona was not present on that occasion, as he only actually presided over five of the 11 matches of his tenure. Officially, he won 18.2 per cent of his 11 Racing games before the club's presidential elections ushered in a new era and he left.

Argentina – 2008-10

After being away from coaching for 13 years, Maradona somehow landed the top job in Argentinian football; the national team. A reportedly strained relationship with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria is said to have contributed to Alfio Basile's downfall and Maradona subsequently led them to the 2010 World Cup, but only by the skin of their teeth and not without a 6-1 humiliation by Bolivia.

They made it to the quarter-finals in South Africa, but Germany exposed them in a 4-0 demolition and Maradona departed. But his 75 per cent win record in 24 matches remains Maradona's best as a coach.

Al Wasl – 2011-12

"I do not want the club to be a graveyard for white elephants," was Maradona's opening gambit at Al Wasl, as he pledged to bring exciting young players to the UAE. That proved more difficult than expected, claiming in November 2011 many players weren't being paid on time.

A colourful season saw Maradona feud with two coaches, march into the stands to "protect my wife" from fans and flirt with the UAE national team job. He won 40 per cent of his 35 matches, but was hastily sacked after the club's entire board resigned at the end of a trophyless campaign.

Al-Fujairah – 2017-18

Following a five-year absence, Maradona was back in management in May 2017, again in UAE. His appointment at Al-Fujairah came as a particular shock given their second-tier status.

Maradona's spell was rather less controversial than at Al-Wasl and on the pitch things went better, losing just once in 23 matches. However, a haul of 11 draws proved costly, as Maradona left by mutual consent after failing to guide the club to automatic promotion.

Dorados de Sinaloa – 2018-19

Another eye-catching move followed for Maradona, as he headed to Mexico's Ascenso MX, the country's second division. "Some people said Maradona's useless," he raged after 4-1 debut win and he went on to lead Dorados to the Apertura and Clausura finals.

They suffered defeat to Atletico San Luis in both ties, with Maradona appearing to aim a punch at an opposing fan in post-match fracas after the Apertura defeat. Of his 41 games at the helm, Maradona claimed 20 wins (48.8 per cent) and suffered only 11 defeats.

He quit in June to focus on his health, but he is back with Superliga strugglers Gimnasia, signing a one-year deal.

Spain and Serbia booked their spots in the quarter-finals of the FIBA World Cup on Friday.

Spain overcame Italy 67-60 and Serbia thrashed Puerto Rico 90-47 as they both guaranteed qualification from Group J.

The two nations will battle it out for top spot when they meet in a mouth-watering clash in Wuhan on Sunday.

Poland and Argentina also advanced with victories over Russia and Venezuela respectively.

Hosts China scored a 77-73 win over South Korea in the classification round, while there were also triumphs for Nigeria, Iran and Tunisia.

 

ITALY LOSE IT LATE

Spain were trailing 56-52 with four minutes to play against Italy, but Ricky Rubio helped lead a 10-0 run as Italy were put to the sword.

The Phoenix Suns guard finished with 15 points, two assists and two steals, though he recorded seven turnovers – a joint-high for him in a World Cup game.

Juancho Hernangomez had a game-high 16 points as Italy came up short and saw their hopes of reaching the last eight go up in smoke.

Marc Gasol had just two points and four rebounds in his 27 minutes on the floor.

 

SERBIA TOO GOOD FOR PUERTO RICO

A fourth win on the trot always looked likely for Serbia, who opened the scoring and never trailed against Puerto Rico.

Five Serbia players reached double figures in points, while the towering Boban Marjanovic went seven-of-eight from the field for 16 points.

The European side out-rebounded their opponents 48-26 and used all 12 of their players in a routine victory.

Nikola Jokic claimed a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

 

DECK DECKS VENEZUELA

Argentina had Gabriel Deck to thank for their 87-67 triumph over Venezuela; the Real Madrid forward had 25 points off nine-of-12 shooting in a comfortable win.

Poland joined them in advancing from Group I.

Adam Waczynski scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Poland came from behind to down Russia 79-74.

Mateusz Ponitka contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, as Mikhail Kulagin's game-high 21 proved insufficient for Russia.

Like Spain and Serbia, Poland and Argentina will fight for top spot on Sunday. They go head to head in Foshan.

Giovani Lo Celso eased fears over his fitness following a pair of injury scares in Argentina's friendly against Chile in Los Angeles.

Tottenham loanee Lo Celso lasted until the 53rd minute of the bruising 0-0 draw, during which 10 yellow cards were handed out.

The 23-year-old was left beating the turf in anguish when Charles Aranguiz caught him above the foot with a crude studs-up tackle in the first half.

Referee Jair Marrufo opted against sanctioning the Chile midfielder for a second time, having booked him in the seventh minute.

The Argentine Football Association later suggested Lo Celso had suffered a groin problem, but the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder provided a positive update after the match.

"It was only a blow, nothing to worry about," he said.

Lo Celso almost made the breakthrough for Argentina when he volleyed marginally wide of Claudio Bravo's goal shortly before the interval.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez also threatened regularly but the sides could not be separated.

"We deserved a bit more. We had a lot of chances to score but it wasn't to be," Lo Celso added.

"We had a good game, generally speaking. The first half was where we had the most chances. We created some good opportunities with a lot of people in attack.

"We were up against a very tough opponent and we were up to their level."

Lionel Scaloni selected a youthful squad for the Albiceleste's first outing since the Copa America and felt the less-experienced players adapted well to the international arena.

"We wanted to give the younger players minutes," the Argentina boss said.

"With the game in progress, they usually enter much calmer. That was the idea. It makes me happy that the new players didn't notice the weight of the shirt.

"We always want to win but the important thing was the performance, which was good at times."

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