Germany ended Latvia’s dream run at the Basketball World Cup on Wednesday with a nervy 81-79 win to squeeze into the semifinals and a clash with the United States.
Debutant Latvia had already beaten defending champion Spain and Tokyo Olympics silver-medallist France on its way to the quarterfinals.
But unbeaten Germany stopped it in its tracks with a hard-fought win in Manila and will now take on the Americans on Friday.
Latvia jumped out to a 10-point lead after only five minutes but Germany pegged it back and led by two at half-time. The lead repeatedly changed hands but eventually Germany began to press its advantage and it just about held on.
Franz Wagner was Germany’s top scorer with 16 points, followed by Andreas Obst (13) and Moritz Wagner (12). But playmaker Dennis Schroder had a day to forget, scoring only four of his 26 field-goal attempts.
Arturs Zagars was Latvia’s top scorer with 24 points, followed by Davis Bertans with 20, which included six three-pointers.
Latvia’s loss eliminated it from the race for one of the two Paris Olympic berths available for European teams at the World Cup. In the day’s second quarterfinal, Slovenia faces Canada with a semifinal matchup against Serbia up for grabs.
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