25 August, 2017
03 September
A Final between well-known rivals
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A Final between well-known rivals

CORDOBA (FIBA AmeriCup 2017) - Argentina and United States will once again compete for a continental tournament. This FIBA AmeriCup 2017 will have the best two teams in the final round, something that has happened twice before.

Both in the 2003 FIBA Americas Tournament in San Juan and the 2007 FIBA Americas Tournament in Las Vegas, the United States took the crown home. Now, the Argentine will try to break that streak with the fans on their side.

Since 1980, when the FIBA AmeriCup started, the United States —without having a constant participation— has been the biggest winner, with a total of 6 titles under their belt. The rest of the time they’ve made it to second-place, another year in 4th place, and their weakest performance yet was in 2001 when they came in last. Out of the 7 finals they’ve played, the United States have won 6 times. They made it to the 1989 FIBA Americas finals but couldn’t win against Puerto Rico, who got to celebrate their victory in Mexico.

For their part, Argentina has had perfect assistance, and the two times they’ve been champions has been at home. The 2001 Tournament in Neuquén and the 2011 Tournament in Mar del Plata were the highest standings for a team that —including this FIBA AmeriCup 2017 — has played 7 out of the last 9 continental finals. Argentina didn’t reach the finals at the 2009 FIBA Americas in San Juan or at the 2013 FIBA Americas in Caracas, but won the bronze medal both times. In fact, every time Argentina played as a local, they reached the finals; losing only by a hair against Puerto Rico at the 1995 FIBA Americas Tournament in Neuquén, 87 to 86.

The two times they’ve faced each other in a final match were absolute victories for the United States’ team. In 2003, the team coached by Mike Brown and led by Duncan, Carter, Kidd, Allen, O'Neal and McGrady were far superior to an opponent who was preparing for something big. "Pepe" Sánchez, Ginóbili, Oberto, Scola, Nocioni and Wolkowyski were some of the players led by Rubén Magnano.

In their last participation before this AmeriCup, the United States also played the final against Argentina. It was at the FIBA AmeriCup 2007 in Las Vegas where Mike Krzyzewski’s team won by an outstanding 118-81. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were the leaders of a team that among their ranks included Kidd, Howard, Miller and Carmelo Anthony, and others. Just as today, Sergio Hernández was Argentina’s coach and relied on Prigioni, Delfino and Scola as the most relevant players in the team.