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Can Canada finally reach Semis? Who wins all-Euro battle?
CAIRO (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Five European nations and three from the Americas are in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 Quarter-Finals. And two of the biggest questions for the top eight is if Canada can finally reach the Semi-Finals and who will win the all-European clash?
Here is a break-down of the four Quarter-Finals to be played at Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex.
The 2011 champions Lithuania are rolling in Cairo with the second-best offense in the competition (98 ppg) with the most assists (29.8 apg) and the best shooting percentage (50.4 percent). The name of the game in this encounter will be tempo - as in if Italy can slow down Lithuania. Italy have scored just 64 points a game but they also gave up just 66 points a game, and that includes 98 points against United States. But Lithuania are not just all offense - they lead the competition in blocks (5.0 bpg) and steals (11.5 spg). These teams have never met at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.
One of three Americas vs European battles and one which has real history. Spain have won the last two meetings at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup and four of the six total. But the biggest game was Spain beating Argentina 81-80 in the Semi-Finals in 1999 - which ended in Spain's only U19 title. Argentina's two third-placed finishes came in 1979 and 1991. This could be a very clean ball game as Argentina are third in turnovers committed with 15.8 per game while Spain are fourth at 16.3. Argentina have struggled at the free throw line (60 percent) while Spain are third-best from the line (67 percent).
Canada entered the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 knowing they had lost their last three Quarter-Finals - in 2009, 2013 and 2015. After twice failing against the United States and then at the last tournament against Croatia, head coach Roy Rana and his North Americans are hoping to beat France. They beat the Europeans in their only previous game, in the 2009 7th Place Game. France, who are tops in turnovers in the tournament with just 14.0 per game, took third place the last time they came into the U19 as U18 European champions in 2007.
Germany can have the comfort of knowing they beat the Americans in their only previous U19 match-up - one of only two losses in 1983, when the USA ended up winning the title. Germany rank third in field goal percentage at 43.3 percent, but have struggled on the glass as they are 13th in rebounds. The United States meanwhile are tops in rebounding - not to mention number one in scoring, second in assists and second in steals.