THE THRONE IS VACANT

BEIJING (China) – A new champion will be crowned at the end of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China after France derailed the title defense of the back-to-back champions USA in the Quarter-Finals.

Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier orchestrated France’s first-ever victory against the top-ranked team in the World, 89-79, to headline the four teams moving to the Semi-Finals in Beijing to fight for the famed Naismith Trophy, with Argentina, Australia and Spain.

After eliminating the title-holders, Les Bleus will take on Argentina in the next phase of the competition after the South Americans registered a memorable upset of their own, beating Serbia 97-87 a day previously, also in Dongguan.

The other side of the bracket will pit Australia and Spain against each other in the Semi-Finals.

The Boomers punched their ticket to Beijing with a convincing 82-70 victory against Czech Republic in Shanghai, extending their winning streak in China to six games and ensuring their best-ever finish in the competition.

Also unbeaten, Spain topped Poland in their Quarter-Final 90-78 on Tuesday.

From the four teams still in contention for the FIBA Basketball World Cup title, only Argentina and Spain have captured the Naismith Trophy in the past. The South Americans won the inaugural edition of the competition in 1950, while the Spanish lifted the trophy the last time the World Cup was organized in Asia in 2006.

Both Semi-Finals will take place on Friday, September 13 in Beijing, with the champions crowned at the Wukesong Sport Arena on Sunday, September 15.