FIBA World Cup: Argentina vs Spain: The world is in your hands
FIBA World Cup Spain are seeking their second World Cup trophy
Neither Spain nor Argentina were expected to be in the FIBA World Cup final before the tournament began, yet here they are. Both nations have shown heart, courage, strength, competitiveness and collectiveness on their way to Sunday’s final.
At 14:00 CEST, Spain and Argentina will go to war as they look to become world champions in what will be a fierce clash between the two.
There are some similarities between La Roja and El Alma Argentina in the way that both have had a golden generation in the not-too-distant past, yet the way in which they have been guided into a new era by the two Sergios – Scariolo and Hernandez respectively – has seen them both return to the pinnacle of international basketball.
It has not been easy, though. Spain are without Pau Gasol, Sergio Rodriguez, Nikola Mirotic, Juan Carlos Navarro, Felipe Reyes and Jose Calderon these days, while Argentina have lost the likes of Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino and Pepe Sanchez. However, both nations have retained the competitiveness that saw those previous players thrive on the international stage.
They are two national teams that have been able to reinvent themselves, almost out of nowhere with an emphasis on sacrifice and teamwork, something that Spain point guard Ricky Rubio recognises.
“We have something a little similar in our DNA and it is our never-say-die attitude and our heart,” Ricky explained.
“We’ve both shown it for a long time. They were also the ‘golden generation’ and it seemed as though they were going to take a step back, but it is quite the opposite; they have taken a step forward, just like us.”
The 28-year-old Rubio has been confident in La Roja‘s chances of winning the World Cup since before the tournament got underway.
“I believed, there was something inside me that said we were going to win the championship, and we’re one step away,” he added.
“Dreaming big is free and the limits we put on ourselves at times is only in our heads.
“Now there is only one thing in my mind and that is the gold medal.”
Spain shooting guard Rudy Fernandez, a close friend of Rubio and former teammate of his at Joventut Badalona, is still in disbelief.
“This is an amazing opportunity to make this national team even bigger,” Rudy stated.
Argentina, meanwhile, have had one of the most formidable offenses in the World Cup, scoring an average of 87.7 points per game, with Luis Scola, Facu Campazzo and Gabriel Deck leading the charge. Conversely, Spain have had the best defence, allowing their opponents to score an average of 66.9 points, as Marc Gasol has guarded the paint while his teammates have been active with steals and closing out. It is worth noting that when Spain won in 2006, they had the best defence, giving up an average of 66.5 points.
A train crash seems inevitable, but history says that Spain are favourites: La Roja have beaten El Alma Argentina in 14 of their 15 matches against each other.
In finals, though, statistics go out the window. This is Argentina‘s third appearance in a final, winning back in 1950 before losing in 2002. For Spain, they will be making their second appearance in a final, having beaten Greece back in 2006 to win their first World Cup gold medal.
Tip-off will take place in Beijing at 14:00 CEST on Sunday, and from there a battle will commence to see who can become the new world champions. The destination of the World Cup trophy is in their hands.