In a repeat of the 2018 World Championships final, Great Britain defeated the United States of America in the men’s final Group D game at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 here on Wednesday.
With both the teams fancied to play the final of this edition, this was the most awaited game of the championships at the World Trade Centre Halls.
USA, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champions, looked set to avenge the last Worlds final defeat leading in the initial part of the match before Great Britain halted their run.
In a high-intensity game, which saw leading exchanging hands several times, Great Britain took the upper hand from the second quarter (22-20, 16-10, 17-13).
“It’s the first time playing against them after a long time. They are our biggest rival. They are a very experienced team; it’s always like playing chess against them. It was just great competing against them,” said Philip Pratt who top-scored for Great Britain with 30 points.
Great Britain, who topped Group D with all three wins, plays South Korea, while the USA takes on Argentina in their last-16 matches on Thursday.
Germany eye first medal
Aiming for their first-ever medal in a World Championships, Germany topped Group B with their 99-45 win over Thailand in their last league game.
The German men’s team, the two-time silver medallist at European Championships, was propelled by Mathias Guntner’s 16 points. They next face the hosts the United Arab Emirates in their last-16 game on Thursday.
Captain of the German team, Jan Haller, a three-time Paralympian, said:
“We wanted to top the group. And I am happy with the way we finished the group stage. Today we had seven players who scored double figures.
“We just try to live in the moment. We have dreams but first, we must work. Next goal to win the next game. Our focus for next 24 hours is to win the last-16 game.”
“We have a great chemistry; we have been playing for a long time. We have newcomers also in the team here, we have a lot of offensive power, and we are tough to defend,” said Haller highlighting on their strong youth system back in Germany that has helped them to make a balanced team.
First win for Korea
Earlier, South Korea recorded their first win in the Dubai 2022 World Championships in a thrilling Group C game. The Koreans defeated France 66-64, displaying an inspiring show in the final quarter after trailing in the third quarter.
Seung Hyun Cho top scored with 27 points while Nicolas Jouanserre managed 26 points for France but still wasn’t enough to take the team through.
“We are very happy to get our first win. Our team have many newcomers and they have got some good experience. We believed that we must win this game; we trusted each other and had the confidence to make it happen,” said Dong Gil Yang, who had 12 rebounds and nine assist for Korea.
Meanwhile, Iran rode on Omid Hadiazhar’s effort to beat Iraq 83-41 in their final Group D game to finish the league stage in third place. Hadiazhar was the top scorer of the game with 23 points.
“Our target is making the top eight of the championships. I am happy how the boys played at the Championships because my team hadn’t friendly match before start of the championships. We are focusing game by game,” said Iran’s head coach Mohammadreza Dastyar.
Line-up for Men’s Last-16
Thursday 15 June 2023
12:00 | Italy vs Thailand
12:15 | Canada vs Brazil
14:15 | France vs Iran
14:30 | Australia vs Egypt
16:30 | Netherlands vs Iraq
16:45 | Germany vs UAE
18:45 | Great Britain vs Korea
19:00 | USA vs Argentina
*All times are in local time.
Click here to find out more about the World Championships.
Text Credit: Priyanka Sharma / DCD
Photo Credit: Steffie Wunderl & SA Images