Spain are FIBA Basketball World Cup champions again after triumphing over Argentina, 95-75, in the Final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 at the Beijing Wukesong Arena.
Spain had the better start in this encounter, scoring 14 of the game’s first 16 points, and though Argentina mounted repeated runs to trim Spain’s lead, coach Sergio Scariolo’s side withstood every Argentine charge, according to FIBA.com report.
Spain also unleashed extremely tight defense 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.
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.
Spain capped a dominant World Cup campaign with a dominant performance in the Final. Their championship poise enabled them to perform at peak level on the World Cup’s biggest stage, and this victory exorcises the demons of getting eliminated in the Quarter-Finals five years ago in their own backyard.
Spain’s guard Ricky Rubio said, “Right now we made history, and we were ready for that. We had a great tournament. We had to fight for this one. It’s just amazing how the whole tournament has been for us as a team. We weren’t the biggest or most talented team, but we were the team with the biggest heart. We showed it tonight and in the whole tournament. Couldn’t be more proud of my teammates and our coaches. This will go down as a memory for us as a family.”
Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez reacted this way, “About the game, Spain played greater than us. Their plan and execution were perfect. They have great players with more experience. They were really better than us tonight. We were not tired, we wanted to win, we really felt great before the game, but this is basketball. If you play better than the other team, you’ll win, and Spain was the better team today. Of course, we played a great tournament. We beat Serbia, France, Russia… a lot of top teams, and we played very, very well. I would quickly forget the final game, say congratulations to Spain, but I don’t think we lost the gold medal. I think we won the silver medal. I’m so proud of my players, the best players in the world.”