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Jordan plays Greece as FIBA World Cup 2023 tips off Friday

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 25,2023 - Last updated at Aug 25,2023

AMMAN — Jordan joins an elite group of the best nations in basketball at the globe’s premier event — the 19th FIBA World Cup — which gets underway Friday co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

Having qualified for the third time, Jordan will be playing the FIBA World Cup finals for the second consecutive edition and are set to meet Greece on August 26, New Zealand on August 28 and 2010 and 2014 champs, the United States on August 30.

The basketball squad has been the only Jordanian team to reach a World Cup in a team sport alongside the junior men’s team in 1995. They have so far qualified to the world’s premier basketball competition three times — 2010, 2019 and 2023. In 2010, Jordan finished 23rd among 24 countries after losing all five matches. In 2019, Jordan managed a win over Senegal to finish 28th among 32 nations.

The FIBA World Cup serves as a qualifier for the 2024 Summer Olympics, where the top two teams from each of the Americas and Europe, and the top team from each of Africa, Asia and Oceania, will qualify alongside the tournament’s host France.

Jordan joins Asian qualifiers Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Lebanon and China in the 32-country field where Japan and the Philippines qualified as hosts while third host Indonesia failed to qualify after they did not make it to the FIBA Asia Cup quarters.

The tournament starts with the Group Phase’s First Round August 25-30. The top two teams of each group will qualify for the Second Round, while the bottom two teams will play in the Classification Round for 17-32 places. The Second Round will see the top two seeds from the First Round groups converge and face one another. It will feature four groups of four teams, with the top two teams sealing their place in the quarterfinals. The bottom two teams will compete in the Classification Round 9-17.

The quarterfinals will be on September 5, and the semifinals will be on September 8, with the two winners playing for the final on September 10. Classification Round 5-8 games will also be held in between the stretch.

Group A: Angola, Dominica Rep. Philippines and Italy.

Group B: South Sudan, Serbia, China and Puerto Rico.

Group C: USA, Jordan, Greece and New Zealand.

Group D: Egypt, Mexico, Montenegro and Lithuania.

Group E: Germany, Finland, Australia and Japan.

Group F: Slovenia, Cape Verde, Georgia and Venezuela.

Group G: Iran, Spain, Ivory Coast and Brazil.

Group H: Canada, Latvia, Lebanon and France.

Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and South Sudan are the Arab teams at the event. Other Arab countries which have previously played the FIBA World Cup are the United Arab Republic, Algeria, Qatar and Tunisia. 

Since 1950, only the US and Brazil have played at all past editions. The former Yugoslavia and the US are record five time champions of the “Naismith Trophy” awarded to the FIBA World Cup champ and named in honour of basketball’s inventor. The Soviet Union won three times, Brazil and Spain twice each and Argentina once.

In their last training camp in China, Jordan lost to South Sudan 91-82 and beat Venezuela 89-87 in overtime in a tightly contested match before heading to Manila for their group matches. They also played in Georgia where they lost to the hosts 86-69 and to Iran 81-73. Earlier, Jordan hosted and won the 11th King Abdullah Cup (The King’s Cup) after they beat Portugal, Angola and Mexico.

The team’s World Cup qualifying journey included reaching the FIBA Asia Cup semis for the second time, eventually settling for fourth place. 

This week, Jordan was drawn to play in Group C alongside Thailand, Bahrain and the Philippines at the upcoming 19th Asian Games set for September 23-October 8 in Hangzhou, China.

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