Two key matches await Greece in FIBA World Cup qualifying finale
Greece’s final matches in FIBA World Cup qualifying are not indifferent as the Ethniki’s results against Georgia and Germany will play a key role in their seeding for the upcoming group stage draw.
Greece were the first European team to secure their place in the 2019 FIBA World Cup finals and are one of currently 18 qualified teams for the tournament. Only 14 of the 32 places remain open as the qualifiers come to a conclusion this month.
Although the Ethniki have booked their ticket to China, their final two qualifiers against Georgia (21-Feb) and away to Germany (24-Feb) are not indifferent. Currently, the Episimi Agapimeni sit tied with Germany atop of the group with 19 points with nine wins and one loss while Greece hold eighth place in the FIBA rankings (Germany are 22nd).
The 32 teams in the final tournament will be separated into four seeded pots (pots 1-4) for the group stage draw and these seedings will be determined based on the FIBA rankings. FIBA’s seven-best ranked teams will be placed in pot one while the eighth pot one team will be the hosts, China. With Greece in eighth place in the FIBA Rankings, they are currently destined as the top seed in pot two, however, seventh placed Slovenia have been eliminated in World Cup qualifying. This development moves Greece back into pot one.
However, Greece’s place in pot one is not secured as Croatia, Australia, Russia, and Brazil are all capable of stealing the Ethniki’s pot one position in the final round of qualifiers. Thus, it is imperative that the national team defeats both Georgia and Germany in the final two matches to hold onto their pot one seeding ahead of the group stage draw.
A loss in one of the their final matches could see one of Croatia, Australia, Russia, or Brazil jump ahead of the Ethniki in the FIBA rankings. It is important to note that only Australia have qualified for the finals from the nations mentions above while Brazil and Russia hold their own fate in their final matches. On the other hand, Croatia will need a miracle to qualify for this year’s event in China.