Big games? Big attendances for Window 5 of the WC Qualifiers!
MIES (Switzerland) - Games were big, and so were attendances at the latest FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
As national teams battled for coveted spots at the 32-team hoops extravaganza to be played next summer in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, spectators turned out in impressive numbers in the fifth international window.
The fans that showed up to see the emotionally-charged games created electrifying atmospheres.
One venue teeming with fans that had a constant buzz was the Arena Riga. On Monday, Latvia (above) hosted their European Qualifier against Great Britain and the stadium was filled to capacity with most of the 11,057 fans celebrating the country's first-ever qualification for the World Cup.
Latvia's game at Greece a few days before at the DYO Aorakia had been filled to the brim, too, with 5,500 fans in attendance. While the Greece faithful shouted support for their national team, so did a large pack of Latvians that traveled to Crete to pull for their national side.
That same day, the Laugardalshöll in Iceland was at 90 percent capacity full as the national team took on Georgia and fell in a 88-85 thriller.
The European Qualifier on November 11 in Pesaro (above) pitted Italy against 2019 World Cup winners and EuroBasket 2022 champions Spain, who had their long-time Italian coach Sergio Scariolo at the helm.
Inside the Vitrifrigo Arena was a capacity crowd numbering 10,000. Two of the Italy fans sitting courtside were the Grand Prix motorcycle racing legend Valentino Rossi (below right) and Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia (below left), the recently crowned Moto GP champion.
Georgia, after winning in Iceland to move into third place in Group L, returned home to take on Italy on Monday (below) and played their game before 8,121 screaming supporters.
Italy won at the end, 85-84, to seal their place in the World Cup, yet Georgia remained firmly in the hunt.
Ten thousand spectators also watched (below) as Turkey beat Belgium on November 11 in Istanbul's Sinan Erdem Arena.
In the Asian Qualifiers on Monday, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was as raucous as it's ever been for a basketball game as Saudi Arabia had their showdown with the Philippines.
The King Abudallah Sports City (above) was filled to capacity with 9,500 boisterous spectators.
In the Philippines' first Asian Qualifier of the window inside the Prince Hamza Hall (below) in Jordan on November 10, a near capacity haul of 5,000 fans watched as next year's World Cup hosts won.
Puerto Rico's Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan was at 96 and 97 percent full, respectively, for the Boricuas' games Americas Qualifiers against Colombia and Uruguay (below).
In the game against Colombia on Friday, November 11, there were 8,615 spectators and on Monday against Uruguay, 8,692 fans filled the stands to watch. Puerto Rico rode the home-court advantage to two wins.