Team USA will not win a 3rd straight FIBA World Cup after being eliminated by France 89-79 on Wednesday, while Australia is also headed to the semifinals.
For the first time since 2006, someone other than Team USA will win the FIBA World Cup.
The U.S. was knocked out of championship contention with an 89-79 quarterfinal loss to France on Wednesday as the French dominated the glass and capitalized on American mistakes to get their first-ever win against Team USA in FIBA World Cup play.
France (5-1) advances to face Argentina (6-0) in one semifinal on Friday in Beijing. The final spot in the semifinals was filled by Australia, which rode a huge third quarter to an 82-70 victory over the upstart Czech Republic.
Australia (6-0) will play Spain (6-0) in the other Friday semifinal.
The loss by the Czechs also wraps up the final two automatic qualifying spots for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, As the last two European squads remaining, Spain and France are locked into next year’s field.
Team USA and Argentina had already clinched the two automatic bids from the Americas zone, with Australia (Oceania), Nigeria (Africa) and Iran (Asia) earning the other spots that were up for grabs in China.
The Czech Republic, along with Serbia and Poland, will play in the classification tournament to determine fifth through eighth place at this FIBA World Cup and will play in the Olympic qualifying tournaments next June. Team USA is the other team in the classification round.
The Americans did not shoot well — again — and by opting to go small at the 5, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was able to go off for 21 points and 16 rebounds as France outboarded Team USA (5-1) 44-28 in the game.
Australia was able to break away from the Czech Republic (3-3) in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers and outscoring the Czechs 30-18 to open a 63-48 lead entering the final 10 minutes of play.
It’s a big win for Australia, which advances to the semifinals at the FIBA World Cup for the first time and ensures their best-ever finish in the event.
The Boomers had never before finished better than fifth, doing so in 1982 and again in 1994, although they have finished fourth in the Olympics four times, including in 2016.
Team USA and the Czech Republic face quick turnarounds, as they will play again on Thursday in the classification bracket. Team USA faces Serbia (4-2) at 7 a.m. Eastern and the Czechs play Poland (4-2) at 9 a.m. Eastern.