Germany, Serbia Advance To World Cup Final; USA, Canada To Play For Bronze

The United States, with a roster made up entirely of NBA players, and Canada, led by All-NBA guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, both fell at the World Cup semifinals on Friday, defeated by Germany and Serbia, respectively.

The Germans and Serbians will vie for the gold medal on Sunday, with the loser claiming the silver. Before that game tips off, the U.S. and Canada will battle for bronze.

Although the U.S. entered the tournament – and Friday’s semifinal – as the betting favorites, Germany remains the only undefeated team at the 2023 World Cup. The Germans won their seventh consecutive game, with Bayern Munich guard Andreas Obst (24 points, six assists) and NBA veterans Franz Wagner (22 points, five rebounds), Daniel Theis (21 points, seven rebounds), and Dennis Schröder (17 points, nine assists) leading the way.

The Americans, who were missing Brandon Ingram due to an upper respiratory illness, got 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting from Anthony Edwards and had no problems scoring as a team — they made 38-of-65 shots (58.5%) from the field overall, including 12-of-25 three-pointers, and missed just one of 24 free throw tries.

However, they struggled on defense, giving up 113 points in the 40-minute contest. That’s the most a U.S. team has ever conceded in a World Cup game, breaking the previous record of 110 that was set a few days ago in the second-round loss to Lithuania, per HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, in Friday’s early game, Serbia took a first quarter lead and never looked back, led by another big game from Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (23 points on 8-of-12 shooting). The Serbians got the ball out of Gilgeous-Alexander’s hands, limiting him to just eight shot attempts (he had 15 points), and controlled the boards, grabbing 33 rebounds to Canada’s 22.

Despite missing key players – such as Maxi Kleber for Germany and, more importantly, Nikola Jokic for Serbia – the two European clubs have looked terrific in the World Cup, clinching 2024 Olympic berths and at least a silver medal.

The Canadians will go home a little disappointed if they can’t claim a medal, but regardless of the result on Sunday, they’ll have their best ever World Cup finish. And earning a spot in the Olympics for the first time since 2000 qualifies as a win from the program.

On the other hand, it’s a second consecutive discouraging World Cup for Team USA, which finished seventh at the 2019 tournament. The Americans won’t end up lower than fourth this time around, but also won’t do better than a bronze medal in an event they were favored to win.

View Comments (46)