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Experienced Finns go for World Cup qualification in games against France, Russia

HELSINKI (Finland) - Finland will be loaded with experience when they square off against France and Russia in a bid to clinch a spot in this summer's FIBA Basketball World Cup in the final window of the European Qualifiers. 

Of the 16 players named on Friday, 15 will be available for both games, including star guard Sasu Salin, while Petteri Koponen will only play against Russia if the Finns still have a chance to qualify. A Russia win at Bulgaria on February 21 and a Finnish loss to France would see the Russians clinch third place.

The Susijengi, who are fourth in Group K and need to leapfrog Russia into third place to seal a place in the first-ever 32-team event, host France on February 21 in Espoo and then take on Russia three days later Perm.

Finland's 16-player squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers
Roope Ahonen Shawn Huff Mikael Jantunen Antti Kanervo
Mikko Koivisto Petteri Koponen Tuukka Kotti Carl Lindbom
Alexander Madsen Erik Murphy Juho Nenonen Topias Palmi
Sasu Salin Ilari Seppala Ville Tahvanainen Jamar Wilson

Finland, who played at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014 and had more than 10,000 fans that travelled from home to support them in Spain,  have had their ups and downs in the European Qualifiers.

They suffered a 77-75 overtime defeat to Russia in the first meeting between the sides on November 30 in Espoo and then appeared to be headed for a second straight loss but hit back from a 21-point second-half deficit in Zenica to stun Bosnia and Herzegovina, 81-77.

Finland coach Henrik Dettmann does not have Matti Nuutinen or Alex Murphy in the group for the final window due to injuries.