Canada is moving on at the FIBA World Cup — and they’ll be playing in France next year, too.
By way of a major second half comeback to pick up a 88-85 win against top-ranked Spain, Canada is moving on the the quarterfinal of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Led by 34 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — and 24 points from Dillon Brooks — Canada overcame multiple major deficits to find themselves with inarguably the most impressive victory in recent program history in a second-round game taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia.
TEAM CANADA IS GOING TO PARIS 🔥🏀
They take down World No. 1 Spain to advance to the @FIBAWC quarterfinals 🇨🇦
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) September 3, 2023
The victory officially qualifies Canada for the 2024 Paris Olympics, a tournament the men’s team hasn’t competed in since the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.
PARIS HERE THEY COME 🍁
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 3, 2023
With just 12 teams picked for each Olympic Games, it’s seen as the pinnacle of international basketball competition.
Canada trailed 48-38 at halftime, but a strong defensive presence — plus baiting the Spaniards into a series of fouls at both ends of the floor — saw Canada briefly tie the score, a late 11-0 run from Spain gave them a 73-61 lead heading into the final ten minutes of the contest.
Winning each of their three round-robin games over France, Lebanon, and Latvia, Canada had a chance to advance to the quarterfinals of this year’s tournament with likely one win in either of their two second round games, with the first round results carrying over.
But after dropping Friday’s result to Brazil by a 69-65 score, Canada’s game today became must-win territory — a challenge that almost seemed like it was too tough to manage against the top-ranked FIBA team in the world until the final moments of the fourth quarter.
CANADA IS GOING TO THE OLYMPICS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MEN’S BASKETBALL SINCE SYDNEY 2000.
They did it, they actually did it. All the ghosts of the past are gone. The narrative, changed. pic.twitter.com/ws0FvsiNsE
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) September 3, 2023
Canada will advance to a quarterfinal later this week, where they’ll take on the Luka Doncic-led Slovenia.
Meanwhile, Latvia will be taking on Germany, led by Toronto Raptors point guard Dennis Schroder.
For a Canadian team with as high hopes as we’ve seen in a generation, the tournament remains an opportunity to continue putting their mark on the world stage.