Basketball: Final Men’s Teams Decided with Conclusion of Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

The final men’s basketball teams have been decided at the 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournaments as the general Olympic qualification window draws to a close. 24 teams were split into four separate tournaments where the six teams were divided into two groups of three with the top two advancing to the semi-finals. The winner of each tournament qualified to the Olympics. The Olympic Qualifying Tournaments were held from June 29th to July 4th 2021.

The first tournament was held in Victoria, Canada. The host nation won Group A thanks to a 97-91 comeback performance against Greece and a 109-79 score against China. Greece finished second in the group by defeating China 105-80 during the final game. In Group B, a poor third quarter by Turkey meant they had to rally against Uruguay in the fourth to win 95-86. In the second match Turkey used another strong fourth quarter to remove all doubt in the match to defeat the Czech Republic 87-70. The final match and second place saw Uruguay down by 10 going into the fourth quarter and despite their best comeback attempt, the Czech Republic held on to win 80-79.

The semi-final had Canada complete an impressive final minute comeback against the Czech Republic to send the game to overtime. The host nation was unable to win, allowing the Czech Republic to advance to the final 103-101. A strong first quarter by Turkey where they were up by 14 was reversed by the third quarter as Greece rallied and blew past Turkey to win 81-63. The final was decided in the third quarter where the Czech Republic out-shot Greece 31-11 on route to qualifying to the Olympics 97-72.

The second tournament was held in Split, Croatia. Top seed Russia was eliminated in the group stage due to a 72-64 and 69-67 loss to Mexico and Germany respectively. In the latter game, Germany took the lead in the final minute and held on to win. The group was won by Germany who defeated Mexico in the first match 82-76 thanks to a strong fourth quarter. Brazil won Group B with strong performances against Tunisia (83-57) and Croatia (94-67). A full collapse by Croatia in the third quarter allowed Tunisia to take a one-point lead, but Croatia was able to recover to win 75-70.

Brazil had a consistent performance against Mexico to win 102-74 and advance to the finals while Germany used an explosive fourth quarter to go from seven down to winning by ten points against Croatia (86-76). The final match was a defensive affair, with Germany holding the edge as the game went on to qualify to the Olympics 75-64.

The third tournament was held in Kaunas, Lithuania. Host nation Lithuania won Group A with a 76-65 victory over Venezuela and a 96-57 win over South Korea. Second place was won by Venezuela, but were made to work for it after their 18-point half-time lead shrunk to four after the third quarter. A much better performance in the fourth allowed them to win 94-80. Group B was won by Slovenia who scored over a hundred points against Angola (118-68) and Poland (112-77), they were joined in the semi-finals by Poland who won 83-64 against Angola on the first day.

The semi-finals were won by Slovenia where they were victorious 98-70 against Venezuela. The other match saw Lithuania take a one-point lead against Poland going into half-time, but a much better second half allowed Lithuania to win 88-69. The difference maker in the final was the third quarter where Slovenia won 28-17 on route to qualifying to the Olympics 96-85.

The fourth tournament was held in Belgrade, Serbia. In Group A, the first two days saw back-to-back Serbian victories against the Dominican Republic (94-76) and the Philippines (83-76) as they clinched top spot. The Dominican Republic also advanced by defeating the Philippines 94-67. Due to COVID-19, Senegal withdrew from the tournament, leaving only Italy and Puerto Rico in Group B. In the match between the two nations, Puerto Rico took a seven-point lead going into half-time. A strong third quarter by Italy reversed the lead as they would go on to win 90-83.

The semi-finals were won by the European nations with Italy defeating the Dominican Republic 79-59 and Serbia winning 102-84 against Puerto Rico. The final saw Italy build a large lead and while Serbia made a push in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late as Italy qualified to the Olympics 102-95.

This wraps up the qualification process for men’s basketball. This will be the Czech Republic’s and Slovenia’s first Olympic appearance as an independent nation. Germany returns for the first time since 2008 while Italy last competed in 2004 where they won the silver medal.

Qualified Nations

Men’s Tournament
* Czech Republic
* Germany
* Italy
* Slovenia

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