USA, Serbia Advance To World Cup Semifinals

After their first loss of the summer against Lithuania on Sunday, Team USA bounced back in convincing fashion on Tuesday, blowing out Italy in a quarterfinal matchup that was never close. The U.S. won by a final score of 100-63, led by Nets forward Mikal Bridges (24 points, seven rebounds) and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (18 points, five assists).

The victory lines up Team USA for a semifinal showdown on Friday against the winner of Wednesday’s quarterfinal between Germany and Latvia. The German team – which includes NBAers like Dennis Schröder, Daniel Theis, and Moritz Wagner – is undefeated in the World Cup and will be the favorite to win Wednesday’s game, though Latvia has exceeded expectations and is a legitimate threat to make it to the final four.

Meanwhile, the Lithuanian squad that defeated the U.S. on Sunday had a disappointing follow-up contest vs. Serbia on Tuesday, losing by a score of 87-68 in another one-sided quarterfinal.

Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic was Serbia’s best player, pouring in 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Sixers big man Filip Petrusev had 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 17 minutes of action. Heat forward Nikola Jovic also chipped in with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.

Serbia will face the winner of Wednesday’s Canada/Slovenia game in Friday’s semifinal, while Lithuania and Italy move into the consolation games to determine the fifth-through-eighth place finishers.

Lithuania and Italy will now have to win qualifying tournaments next summer in order to earn one of the final four spots in the 2024 Olympics, while Serbia remains in the running to claim one of the two FIBA Europe Olympic berths up for grabs in the World Cup.

The winner of Germany/Latvia on Wednesday would join Serbia as the two European Olympic qualifiers if Slovenia falls to Canada; if Slovenia wins, three European teams would still be alive for two Olympic berths heading into the semifinals.

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