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20 November, 2017
26 February, 2019
4 Milos Teodosic (SRB)
24/02/2019
Game Report
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The 2014 runners-up are back: Serbia pass their way around Israel and advance to World Cup

BELGRADE (Serbia) - Having Milos Teodosic on board inspired the rest of Aleksandar Djordjevic's team as Serbia dished out 30 assists in a 97-76 win over Israel to claim their place at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

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Turning point: Tip-off. Serbia led from start to finish, repeating the scenario of 2012, when they qualified to the FIBA EuroBasket 2013 by defeating Israel on the last gameday of those Qualifiers, after they had lost to Estonia in the previous game. Their win was never in doubt, and a packed Aleksandar Nikolic Hall witnessed a passing exhibit, with Serbia dishing out 30 assists on the day.

Game hero: It is better to watch Teodosic walking than others sprinting. The point guard spread his magic all over Belgrade, with 11 points and 9 assists, and Serbia were a +25 team with him on the floor. He admitted to not being in the greatest shape of his life, but even so, he managed to collect 27 points and 19 assists in two games against Estonia and Israel.

Stats don't lie: Serbian basketball was always eye-pleasing, the best of it coming when the players shared the ball. With 30 assists on the day, they were only one assist away from tying the European Qualifiers record, set by Poland (31) in a blowout against Kosovo in July 2018.

Bottom line: Serbia will have another go with this impressive generation. They were runners-up in Spain in 2014, and in Rio in 2016, so expect them to go far in China, despite their late qualification for the event. Israel will feel like they had a chance, especially knowing that Estonia helped them out with an 84-77 win in Georgia.

They said: "It was disappointing. We didn't expect this kind of game but I'm very proud of my teammates. I think we made big improvements to make this last game an important one and to play against this type of team. To play against Serbia is very tough because they're very talented. But I'm very proud of my team." - Israel center Idan Zalmanson

"First I want to congratulate Serbia for the win and qualification to the World Cup. From our point of view, we finish the campaign and we missed some games along the way and had big wins too. But I'm so proud of the players and I told them that. We knew the whole campaign would not be easy. We had a lot of young players. It was more than what we expected. Coming today to this game, it was a case of playing against one of the best teams in the world. We knew it was not going to be easy. We were not there for the first 10 minutes but I am proud of my players for staying there and keep fighting until the end. We can take a lot of experience from this campaign for the future, hopefully to do better next time." - Israel coach David-Oded Kattache

"First I would like to congratulate the team on a great win. It was a really tough game for us, we had a lot of pressure and we were really nervous before the game. Thanks to everybody, the fans were great tonight. It was a great atmosphere and this is a really big win for us. The team played with a lot of energy and played great defense and every player on the court really brought a lot to the team. It's a really, really big thing for us because we have an important summer for this team and I hope everybody stays healthy and will come." - Serbia guard Dragan Milosavljevic

"Congratulations to the players who had the toughest job in these Qualifiers. It was such a difficult time for them because there was a lot of question marks all around in every day gathering, in every window and they really responded with the heart. It's not occasional why Dragan Milosavljevic is sitting next to me and most of the time he's sitting next to me and I'm choosing him because he colors us with his energy, his heart. He is the perfect example of a basketball player that's coming up from Serbia and reaching what he's reached in his career. I'm very thankful to him and all of the players that you see and whoever was here putting our jersey on. I want to congratulate Israel for their fair play game. They really won the game in Israel to put us in a problem but tonight I had no doubts. I knew who would be a winner and, again, these guys are everything to me." - Serbia coach Sasha Djordjevic

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