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Two classic match-ups to decide FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup Final
CAIRO (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Two match-ups of classic continental foes will decide the finalists for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 as Spain will take on fellow European powers Italy in the first Semi-Final with the Americas battle of Canada and United States in the nightcap.
Here a breakdown of the two Semi-Finals.
Two of Europe's most storied basketball cultures will clash with plenty of history between them. Italy and Spain have met three times at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup with Italy winning the last two encounters, including in the Classification 5-8 games at Crete 2015. The previous meeting before that came way back in 1991 when Italy had their best-ever showing with a second-place finish. These countries met at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2016 and Italy won - snapping an eight-game losing to Spain in the European competition. A look at the stats doesn't show much difference though Spain are third in 2-point field goal percentage for a 41 percent overall percentage compared to 32 percent for Italy. One other stat of note is that Italy are the third-best team in rebounds. Both Italy and Spain take care of the ball and don't take risks for steals on defense.
These two countries know each other very well - with Canada always coming out on the losing end. United States beat Canada in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship Semi-Finals in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and then knocked them off in the Final in 2014 and 2016. The USA have won all five match-ups at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup, including in the Quarter-Finals in 2009 and 2013. Many of the players from these two teams played last summer at the U18 continental tournament. The United States are the top scoring team in Cairo and are first in rebounds and tops in steals. Canada are third in scoring, second in rebounds but 14th in steals. Canada also are 10th in free throw percentage at 62 percentage. One other note of motivation is that Canada have reached the U19 Semi-Finals for the first time ever and may be extra motivated to beat the Americans after coming close last summer.