Great Britain’s first Olympic basketball fixture since 1948 will be against Russia as the 12 teams for the London games have been finalised.
The two teams have already met twice in recent weeks as the 11th ranked Russians came out on top in both matches; winning 87-51 and 76-54 in America. Russia had to go through the Olympic qualifying tournament in Venezuela to book their passage to London and they did so as the only team not to be beaten.
Lithuania and Nigeria have also made it through and both teams have been drawn into Group A alongside the defending gold medalists, USA. Lithuania qualified with a comfortable 109-83 win over the Dominican Republic while Nigeria were forced into a decisive play-off after a semi-final defeat to Russia. However, they came through last night, also defeating the Dominican Republic to make the Olympics for the first time.
This is how the two groups look now: (World Rankings)
Group A: USA (1), Argentina (3), Lithuania (5), France (12), Nigeria (21), Tunisia (32)
Group B: Spain (2), Australia (9), China (10), Russia (11), Brazil (13), Great Britain (43)
In terms of rankings, Great Britain are the heavy outsiders for the tournament but have justified their inclusion in the Olympics with a number of impressive performances over the past year. On Saturday, Chris Finch’s men came close to upsetting France in Orleans having lead for most of the first half before falling 79-74. GB still have another six warm-up matches prior to the Olympics having lost their opening six games so far this summer.
The opening day of the Olympic basketball tournament begins on July 29th:
Nigeria v Tunisia (09:00), Brazil v Australia (11:15), USA v France (14:30), Spain v China (16:45), Russia v GB (20:00) and Argentina v Lithuania (22:15)