Rudy Gobert starred as France ended the United States' title bid with a 89-79 shock victory in the FIBA World Cup quarter-finals.

Defending champions USA lost their first game in the tournament since 2006 as their star-studded line-up failed to deliver and France advanced to the last four.

Gobert was the main man for France, with the Utah Jazz center netting 21 points and amassing 16 rebounds, along with two assists, while making a superb block with just under a minute to play.

France spoiled an impressive performance from Donovan Mitchell, Gobert's NBA team-mate, who led Team USA with 29 points.

Only two other Americans scored in double figures as Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker finished with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Both teams had similar shooting numbers, but France dominated on the boards and won the rebound battle 44-28, while also shooting 17 more free throws.

Gregg Berhalter believes the United States were given the sort of physical test they can expect in World Cup qualifying by Uruguay on Tuesday.

USA failed to qualify from the CONCACAF section for Russia 2018 but are rebuilding under Berhalter ahead of the next cycle.

Days on from a humbling 3-0 defeat to rivals Mexico, USA held Uruguay to a 1-1 draw - equalising through Jordan Morris after Brian Rodriguez's opener - and Berhalter was impressed by his team's spirit.

The coach suggested the Uruguay match in St Louis, where the hosts bossed 60 per cent of possession, would ultimately prove more useful than the clash with Mexico.

"We just played two different teams with two very important challenges," Berhalter told a news conference.

"Against CONCACAF teams, we will play teams that are very compact [like Uruguay]. We have to understand how to break those teams down. Mexico were a totally different challenge.

"Mexico are a high-pressing, active team in front of a loud, boisterous crowd. Mexico presented us with good challenges but also good learning opportunities.

"We talked about how this opponent [Uruguay] were going to be compact and be physical. I think the team did a great job on set-pieces.

"More importantly, it was about the tenacity of our guys and the relentlessness of our guys to hang in there and keep battling. We did a good job, particularly in the first half, of keeping our structure."

Jordan Morris' second-half goal helped the United States to a 1-1 friendly draw against Uruguay in St Louis on Tuesday.

Coming off two straight losses, USA managed to avoid defeat as Morris cancelled out Brian Rodriguez's 50th-minute opener at Busch Stadium.

It was a fortunate equaliser for USA, who had squandered their best opportunities during the first half before falling behind.

Brian Rodriguez's first international goal had Uruguay – without the likes of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin – on track, but Morris levelled for Gregg Berhalter's men.

A beautiful team move led to Uruguay's first chance in the sixth minute, but Jonathan Rodriguez was just unable to get a shot off with only USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan to beat.

After Cristian Roldan headed straight at Fernando Muslera for USA, the hosts created a great chance midway through the first half.

Morris beat his marker down the left before crossing to Tyler Boyd, who put his shot into the ground and over the crossbar from close range.

A Tim Ream block denied Uruguay an opener moments later before Muslera pushed away a 25-yard effort from Sergino Dest six minutes prior to the break.

USA should have been awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time for a handball by Jose Gimenez, but they went into the interval locked at 0-0.

Brian Rodriguez broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half thanks to his first international goal.

A counter-attack saw Federico Valverde play a pass to Brian Rodriguez, who beat his marker before firing a power left-footed effort past Guzan from inside the area.

USA were fortunate to equalise with 11 minutes remaining, a clearance by Uruguay coming off Nick Lima and falling to Morris to chest in at the back post.

 

What does it mean? USA avoid three-game losing streak

Runners-up at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, USA were well beaten by Mexico last week and the draw with Uruguay at least meant they avoided being handed three straight losses for the first time since 2015.

Goalscoring woes go on for USA

USA must find a way to score goals and quickly. It took a huge piece of luck to get their equaliser against Uruguay and they have struggled to find the back of the net since thrashing Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago to begin the Gold Cup. Since those wins, USA have scored six goals in six games, netting more than once in a match just once in that run.

Uruguay show off depth

Without their two star forwards in Suarez and Cavani, Uruguay showed off some depth in the attacking third. Brian Rodriguez, 19, opened his international account and Jonathan Rodriguez was also dangerous.

What's next?

USA begin their CONCACAF Nations League campaign with matches against Cuba and Canada next month, while Uruguay will face Peru in two friendlies.

The United States beat Brazil 89-73 on Monday to book a quarter-final meeting with France at the FIBA World Cup, as well as qualifying for the Olympics.

The defending champions are now 5-0 in China, having boasted far too much firepower for Brazil, who crashed out with defeat.

Brazil's elimination means Team USA and Argentina are both through to the 2020 Olympic Games as they will finish the World Cup as the two top FIBA Americas teams.

Monday's victory secured USA top spot in Group K, though they only had a narrow half-time lead - 43-39 - behind 10 points apiece from Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker and Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner.

But USA opened up on offense following the restart, with Celtics guard Marcus Smart hitting a late three-pointer to give the side a 67-56 lead through three quarters.

They stretched their lead further late on, as Walker and Turner each ended on 16 points.

A tougher test is expected against France, however, with NBA stars Nicolas Batum, Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier primed to take on the 2014 winners.

The quarter-final draw for the FIBA World Cup was completed on Monday with the United States to face France in perhaps the pick of the games.

Team USA defeated Brazil to send their opponents crashing out, with Czech Republic instead advancing having held Greece to only a narrow victory earlier in the day.

Australia edged France in Group L to avoid a last-eight meeting with defending champions USA, who will instead face the second-placed side.

Lithuania bowed out with a victory in the same pool, beating Dominican Republic 74-55.

In the classification round, Montenegro, New Zealand, Jordan and Germany achieved wins against Japan, Turkey, Senegal and Canada respectively.

New Zealand and Germany each finished top of their groups.
 

PAIN FOR GREECE AND GIANNIS

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo could not lead Greece to World Cup glory as he fouled out for the second time in the tournament in their 84-77 win over Czech Republic.

Only a 12-point margin of victory would have been enough to keep Greece's hopes of progression alive but they could not hold on after leading 65-53 in the fourth quarter.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis' brother and Milwaukee Bucks team-mate, said: "Our first objective was to win, and then to win by 12. We paid for the game against Brazil in the first round.

"But this is basketball. Sometimes you are on top, sometimes you're on the other side."
 

USA DENY BRAZIL PROGRESSION

Czech Republic still had to wait on the final result of the day, where they needed USA to beat Brazil in order to join the American side in the next stage.

Their progression was sealed, dumping Brazil out, as Kemba Walker and Myles Turner starred with 16 points apiece in the United States' 89-73 success.

Walker also supplied five assists and Turner eight rebounds, despite the latter playing just 20 minutes and 41 seconds for Gregg Popovich's side in Shenzhen.
 

BOOMERS SCORE BIG TO BEAT FRANCE

It is Australia who will play Czech Republic next after booking a place on the opposite side of the draw to USA by handing France a narrow defeat.

A final scoreline of 100-98 represented the first time France have ever given up a century of points in a World Cup game, with Evan Fournier's 31 not enough to rescue a result.

This was the first match at the tournament with two players scoring at least 30 points, while Australia became the first to have three on 20 or more, as Patty Mills managed exactly 30, with Joe Ingles on 23 and Aron Baynes – who converted five of his six three-point attempts - on 21.

Team-mate Jock Landale said of Baynes: "He's huge. That's what he does for us. He's a stretched five, who shoots the ball really well. He is going to keep doing it for us and we are going to keep letting him shoot."

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.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was unable to inspire Greece to a victory over the United States, who reached the FIBA World Cup quarter-finals with a 69-53 win on Saturday.

Greec claimed an early lead, but it did not take long for Team USA to pull away and take control of the game by figuring out how to contain NBA MVP Antetokounmpo.

The Milwaukee Bucks star finished the first half four of eight from the field, while his team were held to 26 per cent shooting. Gregg Popovich's side entered half-time with a 39-25 advantage and came out even stronger in the second.

The USA have won all four of their matches in China, while Greece will need a big win over Czech Republic in their final second-round game if they are to have a chance of reaching the last eight.

Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell once again led the Americans, with the Boston Celtics guard contributing 15 points and the latter adding 10.

Jaylen Brown also made an impact, scoring eight points over the first 11 minutes to help Team USA build a 22-20 lead before they broke the game open.

Antetokounmpo was expected to be a big threat after playing relatively light minutes in the first stage, and while he scored 15 points with 13 rebounds he was -17 in his 27 minutes on the floor – the worst +/- rating of any Greece player.

Thanasis Skourtopoulos' team closed the gap to 11 points with just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter while Antetokounmpo was on the bench, but they failed to make further inroads.

The USA take on Brazil on Monday in their final match of the second round.

Mexico maintained bragging rights over the United States with a clinical 3-0 friendly win in New Jersey.

El Tri needed only a single Jonathan Dos Santos strike to secure continental glory when the teams met in the Gold Cup final in July, but they went two better on Friday.

Sevilla striker Hernandez headed home during the first half and substitutes Erick Gutierrez and Uriel Antuna completed a thoroughly deserved victory with two goals in four second-half minutes.

USA's brightest spark, Christian Pulisic, passed up the chance to convert a late penalty, which young forward Joshua Sargent was unable to convert past Jonathan Orozco.

Sergino Dest made his USA debut at left-back and forced goalkeeper Orozco into the first real save of the match with a threatening long-range effort.

The Ajax teenager was less convincing when Jesus Manuel Corona nutmegged him, advanced to the byline and picked out Hernandez to head in the 21st-minute opener.

Mexico should have extended the margin before the break, but Porto winger Corona failed to punish a defensive turnover.

Gregg Berhalter turned to in-form Werder Bremen forward Sargent after the interval, but the visitors continued to look the more dangerous.

Corona dragged a shot wide of the far post following a quick counter-attack and substitute Hirving Lozano did likewise in the 71st minute.

The second eventually arrived via a USA mistake as Zack Steffen's ill-conceived pass from the last line of defence was picked off by Gutierrez, who made no mistake with a simple finish.

Orozco's post prevented Alfredo Morales from reducing the deficit moments later and Antuna rubbed salt into the wound eight minutes from the end, coolly beating Steffen after being expertly freed by the lively Lozano.

There was time left for Sargent to be sent to the spot when Diego Reyes bundled over Josh Morris, however Orozco guessed correctly and pushed the 19-year-old's penalty away from the bottom left corner.

 

What does it mean? USA very much a work in progress

USA boss Berhalter clearly wants his team to build from the back as often as possible, a style which regularly invited trouble against a canny Mexico. The upcoming CONCACAF Nations League serves as a good opportunity to smooth out the flaws of a gameplan which needs refinement ahead of the main event that is World Cup qualifying.

Lozano oozes class in cameo

He spent just 20 minutes on the pitch but that is all Napoli's new signing needed to make a major impact. Lozano bamboozled a couple of markers on the way to setting up his side's final goal and generally looked to be the game's most talented individual, even above the hard-working but luckless Pulisic.

Dest's difficult debut

USA elevated defender Dest into their senior squad in an attempt to ward off interest from Netherlands, the country of his birth and whom he could still represent in future. On the evidence of some naive moments defensively in this match, the 18-year-old has a lot to learn at international level regardless of the shirt he is wearing.

What's next?

Both teams return to action on Tuesday. USA face Uruguay in St Louis, while Mexico head to San Antonio to meet Argentina.

The United States were back on form as they responded to a narrow overtime win against Turkey by securing a 98-45 victory over Japan in Group E at the FIBA World Cup.

Team USA had complete control of the game from start to finish and the margin of victory was something they desperately needed after a dramatic finish against Turkey.

While Kemba Walker played consistently well, scoring 15 points with eight assists, Jaylen Brown emerged as a breakout star by adding 20 points with seven rebounds.

Gregg Popovich's side should face a tougher challenge when they take on Greece and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in their first second-round match on Saturday.

USA started fast and did not look back. They scored the first 13 points of the game and held Japan scoreless until the middle of the first quarter.

Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart were sidelined due to injuries, but USA responded by sharing the ball.

All 10 players scored for Popovich's team, with Brown leading the way followed by Walker and Harrison Barnes, who had 14 points with eight rebounds.

Rui Hachimura, selected ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, did not live up to expectations for Japan as he scored four points on two-of-eight shooting. Yudai Baba (18) was the only player in double figures for Julio Lamas' men.

However, Hachimura had a few highlight moments where he stole the show, including a dunk over Myles Turner in the third quarter.

Japan scored just eight points in that period and although they matched USA's tally in the final quarter, an upset was already well out of reach.

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.

Gregg Popovich believes the United States' thrilling overtime win against Turkey at the FIBA World Cup showed they were still "not there yet".

USA advanced to the second round from Group E after edging Turkey 93-92 in Shanghai on Tuesday.

The two-time defending champions survived a huge scare, Turkey having chances to go three points up with nine seconds remaining in OT, only for Dogus Balbay and Cedi Osman to miss free-throws.

USA head coach Popovich said the encounter showed the defending champions still had plenty of work to do at the tournament in China.

"It was a heck of a game," he said.

"As we all know, it was anybody's game. We will accept the win, but it was anybody's to win.

"The team that we played tonight again showed its experience and the improvement we have to make execution-wise. We're not there yet. We're still trying to get better at that.

"But, playing a fine team like that gives us another good example of how we can be when everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing on the court.

"So, I give them a lot of praise for what I saw."

USA round out their Group E campaign against Japan on Thursday.

Gregg Popovich's United States team survived an almighty fright in the FIBA World Cup as they claimed a 93-92 overtime victory over Turkey in Shanghai.

Turkey had a chance to hand USA their first preliminary round loss in the competition since 1998 and were one point up in the final 10 seconds.

However, they missed four free throws in the dying embers and Khris Middleton made no mistake with his pair of tries to spare USA's blushes and send them into the second round.

Elsewhere, Joe Ingles' statline of 17-10-9 ensured Australia made it two wins from two in a 81-68 victory over Senegal while Middleton's Milwaukee Bucks team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo's fouled out in Greece's 79-78 loss to Brazil.

USA SURVIVE UPSET SCARE

Even a depleted USA roster was expected to have few issues in the early stages of the tournament, but Turkey came close to pulling off a huge upset against the defending champions.

Popovich's team were five points up in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, yet a 7-0 run from Turkey meant the game went down to the wire. 

A foul on Jayson Tatum at the buzzer gave him three free throws, and USA would have won in regulation had he made them all - but he could only drain two.

Turkey had a five-point advantage in the additional period and twice had an opportunity to go three points up with nine seconds remaining only for Douglas Balbay and Cedi Osman to fluff their lines from the free-throw line.

Middleton kept his cool as USA survived a scare on the court, though Boston Celtics star Tatum appeared to pick up a worrying looking ankle injury at the end.

GIANNIS' GREECE GO DOWN

The NBA's reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had a day to forget as Greece suffered a narrow loss to Brazil that mean the South Americans booked their spot in the second round.

Antetokounmpo had fouled out by the time Greece tried to tie the game up late on and force overtime, but Kostas Sloukas could only make two of his three free-throws with two seconds remaining as Brazil claimed a one-point success.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors center Anderson Varejao led all scorers with 22 points while Antetokounmpo had just 13 in his 28 minutes on court.

Elsewhere in Group F, New Zealand beat Montenegro 93-83.

INGLES COMES CLOSE TO HISTORY AS BOOMERS WIN AGAIN

There has never been a triple-double in a FIBA World Cup but Ingles came close to a slice of history as Australia eased past Senegal.

Ingles was one assist away from a triple-double, contributing nine of their 28 assists as the Boomers warmed up for their clash with Lithuania, who joined them in the second round with a 92-69 triumph.

In Group G, France also moved to 2-0 with a 103-64 thrashing of Jordan, while Dominican Republic kept their unbeaten start intact by beating Germany 70-68.

The day's other game saw Czech Republic defeat Japan 89-76.

The United States had a narrow escape at the FIBA World Cup on Tuesday as Gregg Popovich's depleted team beat Turkey in overtime. 

After Turkey missed four consecutive free throws in the final 10 seconds, Khris Middleton made a pair from the line with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime as USA secured a dramatic 93-92 win.

In doing so, they avoided their first loss in the preliminary rounds at a World Cup since 1998. 

USA had a five-point lead with just under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter but watched Turkey go on a 7-0 run to go up 81-79 on Ersan Ilyasova's tip-in of Cedi Osman's miss with 12.3 seconds left. 

Popovich's team went for the win on their final possession of regulation, with Middleton firing up an effort from beyond the arc. He missed, but Kemba Walker secured the rebound and got it to Jayson Tatum, who managed to draw a foul from Osman while in the act of shooting from behind the three-point line at the buzzer. 

With a chance to seal the game in his hands, Tatum made the first but missed the second and had to drain the third to send it to overtime, where the back-and-forth nature of the game continued. 

Turkey stretched out a five-point advantage to open the extra session before USA rallied to take a 91-89 lead on a Tatum layup with 1:50 to play, but Osman converted a three-pointer a minute later to put the underdogs back on top. 

After a Joe Harris miss, USA got the ball back when Walker drew a charge with 14.6 seconds to play, but Myles Turner turned it over.

Harris was called for an intentional foul, sending Dogus Balbay to the line for two. He missed both, but Turkey still had the ball, so Marcus Smart immediately fouled Osman. The Cavaliers forward missed his two shots as well, handing USA one last lifeline that Middleton was able to convert. 

The Milwaukee Bucks star led USA with 15 points while Walker added 14. Ilyasova had 23 for Turkey to lead all scorers.

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."

Kobe Bryant expects the young players who headline the United States' roster for the FIBA World Cup to be the marquee names of the future.

Much has been made of the lack of star power in the USA squad. No players who contested the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors are involved and the sheer number of withdrawals has left the Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell as the leading light on the team.

Boston Celtics duo Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will also hope to have a big impact alongside Mitchell.

However, an exhibition defeat to Australia has served to increase scepticism around their prospects for the tournament, which starts on Saturday.

However, Bryant, who won two Olympic gold medals in his glittering career, has faith Gregg Popovich's team can deliver in China.

"We got great players. The team gets a little bit chippy about it because everybody is writing them off because we don't have the marquee names," Bryant said at the US Open on Thursday. 

"These young players that are playing on this team will be those marquee names in two or three years. They're great players in their own right. We'll be fine."

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