Basketball World Cup Final: USA vs Serbia - Preview
The United States will attempt to become the first repeat world champions since 2002 and tie the mark for the most titles when they take on Serbia in Sunday`s final of the 2014 World Cup.
Madrid: The United States will attempt to become the first repeat world champions since 2002 and tie the mark for the most titles when they take on Serbia in Sunday`s final of the 2014 World Cup.
The Americans come into the title game against Serbia with a perfect 8-0 and an average winning margin of 32.5 points. The closest result was their 21-point win over Turkey in the group stage.
Many US players admitted they were surprised that Spain lost to France in the quarter-finals and were even hoping to face off against Spain in the final. But they said they will not take Serbia lightly.
"We`re not going to take anyone lightly, which we haven`t thus far. We`ll go out there and have fun playing basketball," said Anthony Davis.
Serbia meanwhile took a strange route to the final - losing to France, Brazil and Spain in the group stage to finish fourth.
They then blasted past Greece and Brazil before surviving a 35-point barrage from Nicolas Batum and a valiant comeback from 18 points down to two in the fourth quarter in a 90-85 win over France in the semis.
"I don`t do any judgement, but it`s a special game. Finals are always a special game, especially in a big competition," said Serbia`s Miroslav Raduljica about playing in the final.
The Milwaukee Bucks big man and fellow leader Stefan Markovic both have a history of beating US star guard Stephen Curry in a FIBA title game as Serbia knocked off the Americans 74-69 in the final of the 2007 FIBA Under-19 World Championship.
Curry had six points while Raduljica had two points and Markovic went scoreless but collected six assists, three steals and three rebounds in that game seven years ago.
Serbia coach Sasha Djordjevic also has had plenty of success on the big stage, winning the 1998 Worlds title as a player, taking silver at the 1996 Olympics and winning three European champions with Yugoslavia.
Serbia will enter the game with no pressure on them as they feel like champions already just having reached the final.
A couple of Serbian players will however get the chance they nearly had four years ago as Milos Teodosic, Nenad Krstic, Nemanja Bjelica and Markovic were on the 2010 team which lost in the semi-finals to Turkey on a layup at the buzzer. The Serbs then lost to Lithuania in the third place game to finish fourth before the United States beat Turkey for the title.