With two wins, the first in 2006, Spain have now joined the United States, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Brazil as only the fifth country to win multiple FIBA World Cup trophies.
The defending champions and five-time champions, USA were blown out in the quarter-finals and ended up being classified in the 7th position, their worst showing in the tournament, which began in 1950 in Argentina. Nigeria’s D’Tigers ended up classified 17th in the tournament.
As reported by fiba.com, Spain had the better start in this final encounter in China, scoring 14 of the game’s first 16 points.
Although Argentina mounted repeated runs to trim Spain’s lead, coach Sergio Scariolo’s side withstood every Argentine charge.
Spain also unleashed extremely tight defence on Argentina, who had to bleed for their points. For the first time in the World Cup, veteran big man Luis Scola was held scoreless for an entire half, and that undoubtedly had a negative impact on Argentina’s quest for their second World Cup trophy.
Coach Scariolo’s side never let up the pressure, intensifying their aggressiveness on both ends of the floor as the game progressed, disabling Argentina from turning the tide and ensuring an eight-game sweep of the World Cup.
Ricky Rubio had 20 points to lead Spain, which also got double-figure scoring Rudy Fernandez, Marc Gasol, Sergio Llull and the Hernangomez brothers. Argentina were led by Nicolas Laprovittola and Gabriel Deck, who tallied 17 and 24 points, respectively.
Turning Point: Argentina’s 12-point half-time deficit still seemed manageable given their explosiveness, but it was the Spaniards who blew it open in the third quarter. After the Argentines opened the second half scoring with Luca Vildoza free throws, Spain went on a 14-0 tear that expanded their advantage, 55-33. That 22-point cushion proved more than enough to keep Argentina at bay the rest of the way.
TCL Player of the Game: Ricky Rubio has been terrific all tournament long, and once again he didn’t disappoint under the brightest lights of the World Cup, putting up 20 points on top of 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Perhaps more importantly, he held Argentina’s star playmaker Facundo Campazzo to just 11 points on 2-of-10 field goal shooting. This is the crowning jewel on Rubio’s amazing run here in China, where he also surpassed Argentina’s Pablo Prigioni as the World Cup assists leader since FIBA started recording all game statistics in 1994.
Stats Don’t Lie: Spain asserted their might in the paint and showed Argentina that they too could have fluid offensive execution. The Spaniards outrebounded the Argentines, 47-27, and outscored them in the painted area, 44-30. Coach Scariolo’s squad also shot much better from the floor, making 48 percent of their field goals compared to just 36 percent for Argentina.
Earlier, France had beaten Australia 67-59 to clinch bronze for the second successive time.