Defending FIBA World Cup champions the United States advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Greece, while Canada made history against Jordan.

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was unable to lead Greece to a shock victory over Team USA in Shenzhen, leaving them requiring a big win over the Czech Republic in their final second-round match if they are to have a chance of reaching the last eight.

Australia overcame the Dominican Republic 82-76 and France beat Lithuania 78-75 in a dramatic finale, meaning the two victors secured their progression and will battle it out for top spot in Group L on Monday.

The Czech Republic kept their hopes of reaching the last eight alive by defeating Brazil 93-71 – Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky producing a sensational all-round display with 20 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

In the classification round, there were victories for Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Turkey.

 

GIANNIS FAILS TO GET GREECE FIRING

Antetokounmpo was expected to be key to Greece's hopes of pulling off an upset against the United States and he had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

However, he was -17 in his 27 minutes on the floor – the worst +/- rating of anyone on his team – and it was while he was on the bench that Greece closed the gap to 11 points with four minutes remaining.

Kemba Walker led USA with 15 points, while Donovan Mitchell contributed 10.

 

BOOMERS STILL BOOMING

Patty Mills posted 19 points and nine assists as Australia held off the Dominican Republic for their fourth straight win.

Jock Londale impressed with 13 points on five-of-six shooting, while Chris Goulding added 15 and Aron Baynes put up 10.

Baynes fouled out with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, but replacement Andrew Bogut stepped up and provided eight points, eight rebounds and six assists.

 

FRANCE THROUGH

Nando De Colo sunk a fadeaway jump shot with 15 seconds of the match remaining to put France three points clear of Lithuania, who saw Jonas Maciulis fail to make a buzzer-beating shot from beyond the arc.

De Colo had 21 points off the bench, while Evan Fournier scored 24 in a commanding display.

Rudy Gobert said: "It was like a final for us. We knew we had to win this game in order to qualify for the quarter-finals. We know that Australia is a tough team too, but we are taking it one game at a time. We are going to get some rest and get ready for Australia."

 

HISTORY FOR CANADA

Nick Nurse's side sank 24 three-pointers in their 126-71 triumph over Jordan, the most in a single FIBA World Cup game.

Canada shot at 58.7 per cent from the floor and combined for 37 assists, equalling the record set by Serbia in their victory over the Philippines in the first round.

Former 100m world record holder Donovan Bailey has joined the throng of track and field greats who have come out against ESPN Max Kellerman who said track and field athletes are those who have failed at American football and basketball.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was in sensational form as Greece booked their place in the FIBA World Cup second round, while the United States completed a clean sweep in Group E.

Greece won a qualification shoot-out against New Zealand 103-97 to follow Brazil out of Group F, the South American side making it three straight victories by overcoming Montenegro 84-73.

After needing overtime to see off Turkey last time out, Team USA were back on song as they hammered Japan 98-45.

Australia and France booked top spot in their respective groups with wins over Lithuania and Dominican Republic, while Germany and Canada got off the mark.

 

USA BACK ON TRACK

Team USA had five players in double figures for scoring as they comfortably saw off Japan in Shanghai.

Jaylen Brown had a game-high 20 points and Kemba Walker added 15 and eight assists in a routine victory for Gregg Popovich's side.

They will face tricky encounters against Greece and Brazil in the second round.

Turkey were unable to follow the USA out of Group E, as Czech Republic advanced at their expense courtesy of a 91-76 victory in their meeting.

 

GIANNIS GETS GREECE GOING

Having struggled to make his mark in Greece's opening two matches, Antetokounmpo ensured their campaign in China was not derailed in their first-round finale.

The Milwaukee Bucks forward posted a brilliant 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals to ensure Corey Webster's 31 points for New Zealand came in vain.

Defeat for the Tall Blacks meant rivals Australia qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games as the best ranked team from Oceania.

 

HISTORY FOR AUSTRALIA

The Boomers made it three straight wins at the start of a World Cup campaign for the first time in their history with an 87-82 victory over Lithuania.

Aron Baynes contributed 21 points and 13 assists for his first double-double in the competition, while Patty Mills scored 23 off eight-of-16 shooting.

The victory ensured Australia topped Group H ahead of Lithuania, with Nick Nurse's Canada taking third following an 82-60 defeat of Senegal.

Cory Joseph was key to Canada's success, combining 24 points with three assists and two steals.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup gets under way in China on Saturday.

A total of 32 teams from four confederations will battle it out across eight host cities in the space of just over two weeks.

We take a look at five talking points ahead of what should be an enthralling competition.

 

A three-peat in the offing?

The United States have won the past two editions of the World Cup and are once again the favourites for glory. No country has ever won three straight titles.

However, Team USA are without a host of their leading NBA stars and are relying heavily on a young group.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said: "A lot of guys back in 2010; KD [Kevin Durant], Russ [Westbrook], Kevin Love, all those guys were young. They made a name for themselves and really propelled themselves for future success in their careers."

The competition could prove beneficial to the Boston Celtics, with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Brown getting some extra time on court with new arrival Kemba Walker.

Booming Boomers

Australia enjoyed a huge boost ahead of the World Cup by beating Team USA for the first time with a 98-94 triumph at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

The experienced quartet of Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills will be key to their hopes of a deep run.

Mills said: "We're locked in focused on trying to create history for basketball within Australia and that's what it's all about. So, we're not satisfied, we've just got to keep working hard."

However, the Boomers lost their final warm-up match against Germany 74-64 and saw Andrew Bogut limp off in the fourth quarter.

More Nurse magic?

After leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship, Nick Nurse took the reins for Canada.

He got off to a winning start against Nigeria and went on to record victories over Australia and New Zealand.

But Canada also lost warm-up matches with Nigeria, Australia and Team USA, showing they have plenty of work to do if they are to pull off a shock in China.

A 'Greek Freak' Show

Greece's best performance came in 2006, when they finished second to Spain in Japan.

This time, though, they have a once-in-a-generation talent in NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 assists during the 2018-19 regular season.

Antetokounmpo will be integral to Greece's hopes, though he sat out their final warm-up against Venezuela due to a knee problem.

If he is fit and firing, Antetokounmpo will undoubtedly make a mark on the competition.

Understrength Spain

It looks like it will be difficult for Spain to win the title for a second time.

Head coach Sergio Scariolo has selected an experienced team that is headlined by Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Llull.

They would undoubtedly have had a better chance had Serge Ibaka and Nikola Mirotic made themselves available, while Pau Gasol is absent due to injury.

Scariolo said: "The players that you have named [Nikola Mirotic and Serge Ibaka], at least one of the two would have been picked if they had made themselves available for selection.

"Another like Pau for example, he would have killed to be with us but unfortunately he is unavailable through injury."

Despite the fact that, for the first time in the competition’s history, two Caribbean teams, Haiti and Jamaica, were in the final four of the Gold Cup, no players from those nations managed to find their way into a Best XI. 

History was made on Saturday night in Houston, with Haiti qualifying for a Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal for the first time in its history after rallying from a two-goal deficit to defeat Canada 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

It made for a very emotional post-game setting for Haiti at the final whistle.

“To be honest, I cried. I was crying and then I got jumped on. It just feels amazing, I could not be happier than this,” said Haiti MF Steeven Saba to Concacaf.com following the match.

“We were down 2-0, we hung in there just like in the group stages. In the second half, we had to put it all out there, take risks and we got what we wanted. We got the win and we could not be happier.”

The victory also set off scenes of joy and celebration back home in the streets of Haiti.

For Saba and his teammates, to deliver this win and leave a smile on the face of every Haitian is a memory they will always cherish.

“To be honest, it’s incredible. It means the world to us because I know what’s going on down there in Haiti. I got really emotional after the game because that’s how much it means to us, to the entire team,” said Saba.

Next up for Haiti is a semifinal date with seven-time Gold Cup champions with Mexico on Tuesday in Phoenix.

While Les Grenadiers greatly respect El Tricolor and all that it has accomplished in the region, Haiti will go into that contest ready to battle like always.

“We’re fighters, we’re all warriors. Coming from Haiti, we’re always fighting and we are going to keep fighting. I respect everyone in this group, I love everyone in this group, we’re all a family and we could not be happier. 

“I respect Mexico, but I’ll say that we are not afraid of anyone. We’re fighters and where we come from that’s what we do,” concluded Saba.

Haiti stunned Canada 3-2 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals in a huge upset in Houston on Saturday.

The minnows looked set for an expected defeat when they fell 2-0 behind inside 30 minutes at NRG Stadium.

Jonathan David's powerful finish and Lucas Cavallini's goal had Canada, who finished second to Mexico in Group A, on track.

But Haiti remarkably turned the game around in the second half to reach their first CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final.

Duckens Nazon dispossessed Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan to pull a goal back before Herve Bazile converted a 70th-minute penalty.

The turnaround was complete when Wilde-Donald Guerrier got on the end of a beautiful Nazon pass to put Haiti ahead six minutes later, sealing an incredible win.

Haiti will face either Mexico or Costa Rica in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The first of the four 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals will kick off when Haiti takes on Canada on Saturday evening at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. 

It was a history-making night for Andres Guardado, who scored a brace to lead Mexico past Canada 3-1 in 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Group A action on Wednesday night at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.

Guardado’s two goals brings his all-time Gold Cup total to 12, which ties the mark set previously by Zague for most Gold Cup goals scored by a Mexican player.

It took until the 40’ for El Tricolor to break through, as a blocked shot fell right into the path of Roberto Alvarado, who fired in for a 1-0 lead.

Canada looked to respond and came close through an Alphonso Davies shot that sailed just wide. Back came Mexico the other way and Guardado doubled the lead to 2-0 in the 54’ with a strong left-footed shot.

Canada was not about to throw in the towel, though, and the Mexico lead was cut to 2-1 in the 75’ when Jonathan David stripped a Mexico defender and fed Lucas Cavallini, who calmly scored.

But the night belonged to Guardado, who notched his 12th Gold Cup goal by banking in a shot off the post in the 77’ to complete the 3-1 scoreline.

Mexico continued their flawless run under Gerardo Martino after overcoming Canada 3-1 at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Canada impressed in Denver but Mexico's class was telling as an Andres Guardado brace and Roberto Alvarado strike led Martino's men to back-to-back Group A wins.

Alvarado smashed home the opener in the 40th minute before Guardado – a first-half replacement for injured team-mate Erick Gutierrez – made it 2-0 with a stunning long-range effort nine minutes into the second half on Wednesday.

Lucas Cavallini gave Canada some hope with 15 minutes remaining, however, Guardado's second two minutes later sealed a sixth successive victory for Mexico.

Canada – without a win against Mexico since their extra-time victory at the 2000 Gold Cup – frustrated the seven-time champions for much of the opening period.

Canada – who eased past Martinique 4-0 in their first match – were well organised but they almost came unstuck when Jonathan dos Santos blazed a fierce volley over the crossbar.

Mexico did make the breakthrough five minutes prior to half-time after Canada failed to deal with a cross as Raul Jimenez's reflex shot was well saved but the ball fell to the feet of Alvarado and he emphatically converted the rebound.

Canada almost restored parity minutes later via Cavallini, who outmuscled and outran his opponent and forced a save from Guillermo Ochoa.

Relatively quiet in the first half, Bayern Munich sensation Alphonso Davies went agonisingly close to equalising for Canada after ghosting beyond two defenders and seeing his shot flash just wide of the back post.

However, Mexico went up the other end and doubled their lead in the 54th minute when a loose clearance went straight to Guardado, who hit an unstoppable shot past Milan Borjan.

Canada refused to surrender as Jonathan Osorio went close twice and their effort was rewarded after Cavallini bundled home a goal with 15 minutes remaining. However, their hopes were dashed within minutes as Guardado completed his brace.

 

What does it mean? El Tri flying under Tata

After leading Atlanta United to a memorable MLS title, former Argentina and Barcelona boss Martino is thriving on the international stage. Mexico have beaten Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and Canada, and they are on track for their first Gold Cup title since 2015.

Mexico lose Gutierrez

Guardado came off the bench and scored twice to lead his nation to another win but it came after an injury to Gutierrez. The PSV midfielder appeared to suffer a hamstring injury and Mexico will be sweating on his fitness heading into the knockout rounds.

Future bright for Canada

Canada left emptyhanded but there was a lot to like about John Herdman's men. They were decent in possession and a threat in attack thanks to Cavallini, Davies and Osorio.

What's next?

Mexico will look to preserve their 100 per cent record when they meet Martinique on Sunday, while Canada can bounce back against Cuba on the same day.

NBA championship-winning head coach Nick Nurse plans to lead Canada at this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.

Nurse guided the Raptors to their first title after dethroning two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors.

With a championship under his belt, Nurse is now set to coach a Canada team potentially boasting Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray and Cory Joseph when the World Cup starts in August.

"I'm getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it's going to make me a better coach," the 51-year-old – who landed the Larry O'Brien Trophy in his rookie season – told reporters on Sunday.

Pressed on whether he was talking about Canada, who are looking for a new coach after Jay Triano stepped down in March, Nurse confirmed a deal was "just about done".

Nurse added: "It's something I'm looking forward to doing... I learned a lot as a coach in that run and I'm hoping this experience will do the same.

"It's a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in OK. I'm just giving up some vacation time."

Canada will come up against Australia, led by Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, Lithuania and Senegal in Group H at the World Cup.

A brace from Jonathan David helped power Canada past Martinique 4-0 in the opening match of 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Group A on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

After the two teams traded chances in the first half-hour, Canada broke through when a heavy touch from the Martinique defense allowed David to fire in past Martinique GK Loic Chauvet in the 33’ for the 2019 Gold Cup’s first goal and a 1-0 Canada lead.

Martinique looked to respond and FW Kevin Parsemain had three separate cracks at goal right before halftime, but was denied each time by Canada GK Milan Borjan.

 

Canada looked to wrestle back control and it doubled its lead to 2-0 in the 53’ when Samuel Piette flighted in a pass to David, who calmly stroked home his second goal.

 

The momentum was with Canada and 10 minutes later in the 63’ Junior Hoilett managed to push in a cross from an Alphonso Davies cross for a 3-0 Canada lead. That was then followed by a Scott Arfield strike in the 67’ for a 4-0 advantage.

 

From there, the Canada defense did the rest to secure the clean sheet win and three points.

The 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup kicks off this Saturday with an interesting battle in Group A between Canada and Martinique at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

The two teams arrive into the contest fresh off of a successful 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying campaign in which they both took collected victories in each of their four matches.

Saturday’s clash marks the fourth Gold Cup contest between the two sides, with Martinique taking the three points in their last meeting, a 1-0 win in Group A in the 2013 Gold Cup, also played at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl.

Martinique will be led by dangerman Kevin Parsemain, who took the Gold Cup by storm two years ago in the 2017 edition when he scored three goals in the group stage.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of young talent on the Canadian side, led by Bayern Munich man Alphonso Davies, who served up four assists during CNLQ.

Canada is appearing in its 14thGold Cup, while Martinique will take the field in the Gold Cup for the sixth time in its history.

Finland claimed their first IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship title since 2011 courtesy of a 3-1 win over Canada in Sunday's final.

Kaapo Kakko, 18, scored twice for Finland, although his opener was cancelled out by Jonathan Marchessault in the first period.

But Arttu Ilomaki's goal gave Finland a third-period lead before Kakko's empty-netter in the final minute.

It was Finland's third tournament win and second straight when the event has been held in Slovakia, repeating their 2011 success.

Kakko, touted as a potential number one pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, praised his team's fight.

"It was such a great feeling out there, and our fans were so unbelievable," Kakko said.

"The team battled really well."

In the battle for third place, Russia recorded a 3-2 shoot-out victory over the Czech Republic.

Marko Anttila was Finland's hero as they beat Russia 1-0 to set up an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship final against Canada.

Anttila scored the only goal of a tense semi-final with just under 10 minutes remaining on Saturday.

Captain Anttila brought Finland level in a quarter-final victory over defending champions Sweden and his deflected strike was decisive at Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava.

Finland goaltender Kevin Lankinen said: "He [Anttila] took a stick in the face and came back and scored the game-winning goal,

"That shows a lot of character. He's a good leader and a really nice guy to be around."

Canada eased into the gold-medal game with a 5-1 defeat of the Czech Republic.

Mark Stone, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Darnell Nurse, Thomas Chabot and Kyle Turris were on target in a commanding display from Canada.

Canada were outstanding in defence and clinical in attack as they moved into a 10th decider in the last 17 years.

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